OK so I appreciate that I’m not a queen but why shouldn’t a Rock Fairy get to have a New Year’s Honours List? Lots of people have ended 2017 with their top 10 bands and albums which is wonderful. I fear there was too much awesome music in 2017 to choose from so I’ve chickened out of that one. What I’ve decided to do instead is a couple of awards of my own for some of the unsung heroes of our lovely little rock community. Not necessarily those who shout the loudest, but those who have made amazing contributions to the industry that haven’t necessarily got the most recognition. I’ll be honest, thinking of names for these little awards proved challenging so apologies they’re a bit pants!
I’m not going to pretend there was some huge scientific voting campaign behind these, because there wasn’t. They’re just people I’ve come across this year that I thought deserved a mention because they’ve impressed me and I think we should always celebrate the good in the industry.
Most Engagement With Fans
Matt Jones (Twisted Illusion)
Matt, frontman of Twisted Illusion, is a gobby little soul and whilst he may sometimes let his mouth run away with him, no-one can dispute the utter dedication he has to his fans. He regularly has live streams to answer questions from them and spends hours in his fansite, working with his fans to bring them what they want. Most notably, he spends time personalising all of his merch by writing little notes to his fans (the note I got with mine was completely NSFW and rhymed with runt but it was written with love I’m sure).
Whilst many bands just bumble around with the odd post on social media, Matt really does throw himself into engaging with fans, both on and off social media. When he asks folk to support him, you can’t help but do so as when he’s not gigging, he’s at everyone else’s gigs, buying up their merch. Leading by example.
Most Hours and Miles With A Videocamera
Graham ‘Gebs’ Gebbie
Chances are that you’ve seen Mr Gebbie at a gig, even without realising. Covering a fair few miles and hours is Graham Gebbie who works tirelessly to capture gigs and share decent, pro-shot footage after the show, encouraging folk to go and support the bands he’s captured. He makes this footage available to bands afterwards too. Decent video footage of bands is like gold dust as most fan shot footage is usually a wobbly blurry capture which, whilst lovely of fans to capture, doesn’t always show a band in their ultimate glory. It’s clear that Graham spends hours editing and capturing footage, not to mention covering miles whilst he does so. A true unsung hero.
Most Environmentally Sound Event
Ian McCaig (Winterstorm)
You will see a lot of posts from me in the upcoming year about the importance of being environmentally friendly as I’ve recently completed my training to become A Greener Festival Assessor. Whilst festivals and events are amazing experiences, we want people to be able to experience things for years to come without destroying our environment in the process. One event organiser who for me, has started trailblazing this ideology in smaller events is Ian McCaig who organises Winterstorm, a rock festival in Troon. Examples include the use of paper straws, wooden cutlery, a beach clean up and reusable plastic cups. A lot of the food and drink was sourced locally too which means the carbon footprint of the event was greatly reduced, as well as supporting local businesses.
Winterstorm 2017 was a second year event and aside from the fact the festival itself was my favourite of 2017, the care taken to try and drive home these environmentally sound initiatives was something that really impressed me. I really hope other events take a leaf out of Winterstorm’s book for this.
Most Awesome Promoter
Shaun Haynes (KOL Promotions)
More often than not, promoters are painted as the bad guys, let’s face it. Rightly or wrongly, there’s no getting away from that one. So when you come across one that isn’t, it’s important to shout about it! I’ve dealt with Shaun on a few occasions in 2017, both for past and upcoming events and for more than one band. The dedication he has to promoting his shows is really great. He takes the time to ensure he promotes offline (guess what folks, not everyone has Facebook) and always ensures any bands he books are paid on time and in full, even when the event may not have been the roaring success everyone has hoped. A man of his word, I’d definitely recommend dealing with Shaun at KOL Promotions if you’re wanting a gig around the Cannock/Wolves area.