Saturday, 14 February 2009

Review of Liverpool Twestival - Part One

I want to record what has been happening over the past few weeks, before I get onto reviewing what happened on Thursday night which is likely to be part two!

For a while now, my creative side has been itching to get out, and to some degree it can whilst at work, but not a lot. I had a feeling when thinking about New Year, and resolutions etc that this was going to be a 'big year' (as my friend Margie would say) and embraced that fact, making a decision that this was going to be the year of Yes. I even watched Jim Carrey in Yes Man over Christmas, which was reasonably good, and gave me more food for thought.

In fact, one of my resolutions was to get out more, at least once a month (posted here). Little did I know that rather than just 'getting out', before the end of Feb I'd be working with a few complete strangers to put on a party in Liverpool that would be one of 185 parties held in Cities across the world, to raise money for a very good cause - Charity:Water.

I just want to put this in context a little. I had thought about getting into Liverpool once a month to go to some gigs, having in the very far and distant past been a bit of a clubber rather than a live music person, that said - that alone would have been something very different for me.

To then volunteer (a first) to work with (not only work with, but lead) strangers that I had only previously conversed with online via Twitter, which would involve meeting up with more complete strangers was a bit random. Add to that the fact that we agreed to put on some live music, sort out an auction/raffle to raise money for charity and do quite a bit of media and PR coverage for the event - All Firsts - made it a little bit unbelievable.

Not that I'm averse to doing things for the first time you understand, I like to think of myself as innovative, and a bit quirky, but usually these things are done in quite a safe environment (i.e. work) and the one thing I love to do whatever time of day it is, is learn.

So, what have I learnt in the past month then?

Twitter is a remarkable platform for acquiring and building networks. I kinda knew this in theory, but I've seen so many examples of how powerful it is in the last few weeks that I'm qute staggered. In the words of a Stage 1 twitterer, I may be evangelising but I have strong evidence.

To be more open and trusting (within reason!) - Being cynical is so last year. I've taken my share of knocks throughout my life, and find it difficult to trust people beyond a certain level. Twestival has shown me how many good people there are out there, if only I would look for them, and the power of the community, which is hugely underestimated.

How to do a radio interview, by phone and in studio. Having appeared on CityTalk twice and the Radio Merseyside Drivetime show, I am in the words of @alisongow 'a seasoned pro'. Not sure I'd go that far, but I'll certainly know what to expect should I do it again. (It did remind me of the time I was a weather girl for Rock FM, back in the day!).
I prefer phone-in's, you can, and I did, do them in your jammies and slippers.

How to be filmed - I've now done a few pieces to camera because of this event, and whereas before I would have been so self conscious that I really would have preferred never to get in front of a camera, and have hidden behind several, focussing on the aims of the project allowed me to 'sell' the event, and hopefully come over quite calmly, rationally and not like a jibbering idiot. I'm not saying I want to watch it back, but it won't kill me.

To ask for more than I normally would - I'll say it again, I'm staggered by the generousity of the local Twitterati, and even those only slightly attached. For example, SAE sponsored the sound techs and equipment. This came about because I asked @paulnolan1980 to help (on @sicktrumpet's recommendation), not only did he help, he brought along another colleague, then we discussed having two students who would gain work experience in on the act too. Having had no experience, and no real idea of what kind of kit would be needed, Paul and Doug soon informed me that we were short of kit to the tune of about £300 (hire fees).

At this stage, I'd asked the bands to play, who were giving me requirements, we'd started publicity about the event and we working with a zero budget. Oo-er...

I, very cheekily, asked Paul and Doug to ask SAE for the equipment. They said the answer would be no. I departed from that meeting quite deflated, thinking that this might be the deal breaker. No equipment, no gig - not the end of the world I know, but not what we'd hoped for either.

Thankfully, SAE stepped in to save the day with most of the kit, and Edge Hill Uni kindly lent some too.

That I'm quite bored - and if I could fit all of this in, in 3 weeks then what else could I be doing in my spare time?

That I have confidence - I was waiting for someone to give it to me, those that know me will think i'm being melodramatic, thinking I had it all along, but I really didn't realise that I had. Well, I've found it now, and I'm not letting go of it.

I've been reminded that I love music and art, love socialising, love photography, love being challenged, love life and somewhere in the mix, most of that had got lost.

I'm sure there is much more, and I'm trying to document this as reminder to self. It has been an absolute blast. I know Andy Goodwin and Alison Gow don't think that they did very much in all of this, but you did guys, you played a huge part in it, as I couldn't have done it without you. And it is a lovely feeling to think that I made at least two new friends in all of the mayhem and madness! x

Images: Pete Carr and Jennifer Welch

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  1. wow! what an amazing start to the year and very inspirational. You did a great job at twestival, it was a fab night /grins/. Great to meet you Mandy
    Jennifer Welch