One of our favorite festivals, The One Man Band Festival, is taking place in our hometown of Montreal from May 15-18. The festival celebrates and showcases the talents and creativity of one-man/woman band musicians and performers. We’ll be giving a website workshop during the festival, you can get all the details below.
We also interviewed the founder Jon Cohen to learn more about the festival, and how they’re using their Bandzoogle-powered website to help with promotion. Enjoy!
1. Why did you decide to start a festival for One Man bands?
It came to me as an idea after an extensive tour in which I had hopped Greyhound buses across Canada, the USA, Europe, Scandinavia and UK. I played over 300 shows and was able to do alone what I couldn’t do for years with a full band. I also discovered that there are many other solo artists, out there doing the same thing. But each with their very own unique brand of music and performance.
There were such a variety of musicians, using all kinds of tools at their disposal. What struck me the most out of all these acts was their variety, their ingenuity and musicianship, It got me thinking how amazing it would be to put on an event that would bring them all together under one umbrella. A fest that would highlight and celebrate solo artists and people getting out there and finding their own way in music. So I started the One Man Band Festival.
2. Are there any other festivals like this in the world?
There are a couple of one man band festivals around the world yes, namely in the UK, and in Barcelona. Every once in a while another one will pop up but they just last 1 night or day, they have no staying power, and no other fest features the wide variety of genres that we have. It is truly unique in its kind.
3. While attending a workshop last year at the festival, we noticed that there seems to be a whole underground culture/scene revolving around the one-man/woman band thing. Is that something you were looking to tap into with the festival?
There is definitely an underground culture, a rich and diverse one too for those willing to dig into it and see what it comes up. Dave Harris wrote an amazing book on all the one man bands called head hands and feet, anyone interested in learning more about this incredible rich art and its history should check it out.
To me it seems that One Man Bands out there just make this incredible music and put on this incredible shows because they have to, because its all on them and the good ones step up to the plate. And there are so many great ones just stepping up to the plate now we wanted to not only have this festival which gathers one man bands but also to help foster their music and get them to the ears of the world.
4. The festival is now in its 3rd year, are you doing anything differently this year? Are there any lessons you’ve learned from past years?
Yeah being a festival organizer is a lot tougher than it seems from the outside. When I took this on I saw it as a great project but in many ways it has consumed me. There were many hits and misses this year and of course it goes without saying that it is a constant learning process but the thing that was most important for me this time around was a that I realized I needed to reach out more to the community at large, to other promoters in the city, to media, to fans, to skeptics and to the unknowing public in order to make this event a reality. This is no longer the one man band club, it had to grow beyond that and though it is a process, I think this year we’re doing that much more than previous years.
5. At a time when music sales have been steadily declining and touring has become increasingly important, are you finding that more artists are developing completely solo options for their career?
Definitely, although the one man band thing has been around for centuries, its only now wit the advent of technological advancements, and the internet that artists are more than ever able to develop their solo show and tour with it to the point where It can become a viable source of income. Its like we’ve come full circle and have returned to the days of the troubadour where there were no recording and music was live and on the spot, now the recording are just the business card and the artist’s performance is what matters. Touring can be expensive at 4-5 band members, when you are flying solo, the sky’s the limit.
6. The festival is using Bandzoogle for its website. What are some of your favorite Bandzoogle features?
We love the ability of controlling our own website content and Bandzoogle makes it easy through a very user-friendly back page where all features and updates are easily manipulated. I like the format and it is very important for a site that needs to change daily and that needs to constantly be adding content.
7. How does the website fit in with the overall promotion of the festival?
Well it is the go to place for all the information on the show. When we have limited time or space to describe all the events for the fest and all we’re about we simply say, go to www.onemanbandfest.com and all questions about the festival, its artists, the schedule, the media, venues etc. will be answered. It's the home of the one man band fest.
Workshop: How To Build Your One Man Band Website
Our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool will be giving a website workshop during the One Man Band Festival. Here are the details:
How To Build Your One Man Band Website
Saturday, May 17
McCord Museum (690 Sherbrooke Street West)
This workshop will show musicians how to create an effective website. How should your site be organized? What content needs to be included? Are there certain design elements you should avoid? Learn how to build a website that will impress new visitors, keep your fans engaged, get people signed up to your mailing list, and shopping from your online store.
Full details on the day of workshops at the McCord Museum can be found on the Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/233027136890115/
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