Make Music in the Election Year!
Another year has passed and so many important issues are on the political table. Many of you are in the midst of election preparations for your Neighborhood Council, filling vacant regional seats on your boards, attracting volunteers who will contribute time and expertise toward community goals.
It almost seems frivolous to talk about music. Except, Make Music Day is about a great deal more.
Make Music Day is about what’s around you. “Music festival” these days call to mind something where you travel to a remote location, pay hundreds of dollars, and take in music on huge stage by huge stars. Make Music Day (MMD) refocuses the idea of a festival by giving everyone a more active, direct role. Make Music Day happens everywhere, for an entire day, on the longest day of the year. (Summer Solstice June 21st). There’s no limit on who can play, what they play, or where they play it. The ultimate goal is to have total participation, because playing music together is an incredible social force. There is no way to solidify a community like having people play and listen to music together.
Make Music Day works best when it’s organized from the ground up & stays DIY. It’s possible, as the festival organizer, to put together the festival yourself, programming and producing every concert centrally. If producing concerts is something you already do, this may even be fairly easy. However, programming the music for an entire community is ultimately not your job as the administrator. Your job is to awaken the musical activity around you and let the artists and the venues do the rest.
This will likely best be accomplished with a few events of your own devising and a lot of events that you’ll help facilitate, but not directly run. Opening programming up to everyone will teach you a lot about where you live – you’ll have the chance to learn about spaces you never knew were interested in hosting music, bands you didn’t know about, even entire scenes you didn’t know about.
Your first year is just a starting point, don’t feel like you need to do it all! This concept of a music festival that’s free, outdoors, not centrally organized, and open to everyone is something that takes time to sink in for a lot of people. Think about making your first year the pilot year. Find like-minded venues and artists who really get the idea, and make sure to direct people’s attention to those events. Make sure you get good documentation, so that in Year Two, the basics of MMD are apparent. First year communities have had great successes while staging 150 concerts, but they’ve also had great successes with 20 concerts that really set the stage for something that will grow down the road.
Stay tuned for more on “how to” engage your community in Make Music Day.