Finding it difficult to get gigs? Maybe its time to take to the streets. The Riptide Movement tells how busking can be the next step in bringing your music to a wider audience.
If you walk down Grafton Street on a Saturday afternoon chances are you will have heard The Riptide Movement performing. Usually surrounded by a wide circle of onlookers, the band brought their music to the streets having seen an opportunity to build up a loyal fanbase and have continued ever since. Busking offers an invaluable point of contact with the public and while they might of had some trouble with the Gardai and shops owners initially "it was easily ironed out as they got to know us". It’s about “knowing how to do it in a way you’re not offending people” says guitarist JP Dalton. There are only a certain number of spots that are appropriate for musicians on Grafton Street which doesn’t tend to cause many problems among the busking community. It’s a system of first come first served.
There has been talk for quite some time about bringing in a licence to busk, but this still hasn’t been implemented. JP admits “it’s scary at the start, you’re really putting yourself out there” but now they don’t think twice about it. He says the experience has given them “more confidence and opportunities for self promotion”. As the debate over Irish bands and radio play continues, JP admits busking can help get airplay in Dublin as DJ’s passing by may stop and listen however this doesn’t tend to translate nationwide.
He thinks getting yourself established is harder now than ever before. Hard work and determination are required as well as an understanding of new tactics such as Facebook. “The game has changed”, he says but with social media platforms you can reach a much larger audience. As a self managed band they would recommend this approach to other bands as it gives you more creative control and a better understanding of the industry. “You can do your own thing... less people to pay, you’re thrown into the deep end, cd maufacturing, distribution, you know more about each individual component.”
Busking on the street also gives the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than the usual 20-30 age group. Through this they have gathered alot of younger fans who are appreciating their rock'n’roll sound, “music is for everyone... its great seeing all types of ages enjoy it” says JP. Exposing yourself to an open audience also means you never know what to expect, whether it be an unexpected opportunity or a lively session. St Patrick’s Day a couple years ago led to an impromtu dancing on the street when as many as fifty German tourists gave as much entertainment as they got, headbanging enthusastically to the sounds of The Riptide Movement .
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