Fiona Hunter does Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections

On 25th January 2014

We are about halfway through the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and deep in the Showcase Scotland weekend where delegates from all over the world come to see and book acts. There are informal events all over the place, but having an official showcase is invaluable. This is a video of Fiona Hunter and the band performing at the Scots and Gaelic Showcase, for which we are indebted to Creative Scotland for setting up.

Yesterday was the Showcase Scotland trade fair, and this year was Unroofed’s first time exhibiting. We weren’t sure what to expect, but our memories from WOMEX reminded us that stall dressing is very important, as is having something people can take away with them.

Here are a few tips we picked up:

– it was worth putting effort into making a compilation of all the artists represented at the stall, and a homemade CD was fine.

I’d been concerned that our origami CD sleeves and computer-burned CDs would look unprofessionally cheap, but people pointed out that delegates collect a lot of CDs and these can get heavy. They really appreciate something light to carry and I suspect the specifically chosen tracks will seem more relevant when it comes to listening back. (We also had proper copies of albums on hand for any serious prospects, but the general supermarket sweep CD collectors could come away with something too without bankrupting us.) We included a simple front cover with the names of all the artists, their websites, and their representation details. On the back we put the track list. We got the template from here and the finished thing looked a bit like this. Another great idea Fi Vass (who was sharing our stall) was using was to provide printed postcards covered in image and blurb, with a free download code for the appropriate album attached. That eliminated the need for a physical CD at all, and certainly meant less late-night folding!

– it’s worth putting an effort into your performance outfit

People really liked the FHBand ‘team colours’. It was something people commented on at both WOMEX and Showcase Scotland, and even when we tried it out (in purple this time) for the Archive Project album launch. We feel that it makes a huge difference to the way people see a band and their professional look if they have made an effort with what they wear.

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– an official showcase is really valuable, but informal ones are also effective.

The fact that Fiona had showcased the day before really benefited us as people came specifically to find us, recognised the team, and since we were organised enough to film the performance, we had something to show at our listening station. Because people were attracted to our stall for the Fiona Hunter effect, our other artists got to benefit from the attention as well. Fi Vass’s artists also benefited from working hard at the late night delegates’ sessions as Fi was able to make connections with people she had already met and consolidate potential bookings.

– the pop-up stand was worth the money

We hadn’t been sure about buying a Fiona Hunter pop-up stand as it was quite an expensive thing to invest in, but in the end it was definitely worth it. It looks lovely, and gave the whole set-up a much more professional feel. A lot of other stalls had them as well and I think it made the difference in how well-dressed the stalls looked.

– go for bribes on your table, but maybe not whisky and shortbread

Whisky at the stand seemed like a great idea at WOMEX where there was really only one Scotland stand, but here everyone had whisky and shortbread so it lost its novelty effect (except for those on the Showcase Scotland equivalent of a pub crawl). It was a great thing to have at the table, as it meant people would stand and talk to us as they finished their drink. Next year we might try something a bit different though. And possibly not alcoholic. Hair of the dog may have suited some of the delegates but it was still 10am!

– take-away blurbs are also worth the printing effort

I battled for hours with photoshop to put together a blurb sheet for all my artists, but it meant that delegates had all the information they needed to take with them, which will hopefully pay dividends later.

It will take a little while to see what benefits our Showcase Scotland exploits have had, but it was loads of fun and Fiona is already looking forward to some new gigs because of it. Tonight she and Mike are performing in the ‘Women of the World‘ concert alongside some fantastic singers from India and Australia.

 

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