Archive for June, 2011

Essential Festival Tips: How to Stay Healthy

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Glastonbury Sanitizer

Photo by c_e_sargent — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Here are some tips from the KadmusArts festival producers, artists and fans to help you maximize your festival experience by staying healthy:

  • When you arrive at a festival, locate the health tent or service center. This way, in case of emergency, you and your friends will know exactly where to go.
  • Drink water. Drink plenty of water. Drink tons of water.
  • Respect the feelings of your stomach. If your stomach feels full, don’t try to jam in more food and drink. You’ll pay for it later and probably miss the best nighttime acts.
  • A festival is the best kind of marathon and you want to be there at the finish. Why let the sun drain you of all energy? Use plenty of sun screen to keep your skin from burning and your body ready for the outdoors. Every couple of hours add more lotion. Plus, your skin will stay young and healthy. And another benefit: After the long and winding road, you won’t be referred to as some strange kind of reptile in your old age.
  • Fashion is not just for bald guys! Wear a hat. Your hat can be funky, ridiculous, American baseball style, or say “I’m usually out taking the rapids down the river”. It doesn’t really matter as long as the hat protects you. Every one will see your flowing locks in the evening. In the meantime, a hat will help to keep your body fresh and cool in temperature and looks.
  • Someday the hand sanitizer industry will discover KadmusArts and pay for complete sponsorship of the site. No matter, we will keep promoting hand sanitizer as health officials at festivals all over the world say that washing your hands is one of the most important ways to help prevent the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer is quick, easy, and now even comes in refreshing smells.
  • If the guy on stage has lots of piercings, hair spikes, and heavy boots you may want to stand out of the way if he decides to try stage diving.
  • If you get the urge to crowd surf, take care of those below you who, after all, are only trying to help you surf from one group of hands to another.
  • Don’t forget to go to sleep. Your mother was right: a good night’s sleep helps your body resist illness. You can relive your childhood when you fell asleep to the grown-ups’ partying downstairs; go into your tent and catch some sleep while the revelry continues around you.
  • Worth repeating: Drink water; Drink plenty of water; Drink tons of water.
  • The best way to have festival fun? Stay healthy so you can enjoy the festival from beginning to end. Follow the KadmusArts mantra: Live a Festive Life!
  • Oh, and if you see a guy trying to your take your picture from the bottom of a port-a-potty, shut the door, get a cop, and be grateful that you have a real life.

- Bill Reichblum

More KadmusArts Essential Festival Tips from our fellow festival travelers:

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Festivals’ Online Revolution

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Duran Duran - Coachella

As posted in our daily international Culture News feed, festival video is leading a revolution.

In response to those who want to control exclusive rights to festivals, concerts and other live events, Apple has submitted a new patent to block the video recording capabilities of the iPhone. The patent application describes an approach that would use infrared receivers to disable the camera when held up to record. Texting, phoning, and searching would still work.

Is this the future of the relationship between an artist and their audience?

Leave aside for the moment the potentially more significant and nefarious use of this kind of technology if applied by governments to professional and citizen journalists. (Haven’t they been following the news?) The user generated video has already left the station and we shouldn’t try to stop it.

“The democratization of music has arrived,” wrote CNET’s Daniel Terdiman about Coachella’s most recent intersection of live stream video and festival production. Online viewers were able to choose from 61 bands across three stages. This year, 225,000 attended Coachella. Online viewers? 4 Million! Does anyone really believe that this is not brilliant marketing of a festival brand and its bands? Terdiman certainly believes so. After all, the title of his article is How YouTube’s Coachella Webcast Changed the World.

Terdiman is not alone. Rob Sheridan, creative director of the always forward-looking Nine Inch Nails, agrees. “It felt so much more significant and cooler than anything like this that I’ve seen…I can see that this is where things are going….incredibly simple implementation, and it worked really, really well. Maybe that’s a testament to [YouTube parent] Google being behind it and having the horsepower to pull it off. And…the way it worked so quickly, seamlessly, and lag free led to the [massive] social spread of it.” One event. One massive social network. One massive market.

This is how one builds a paying audience for downloads, merchandise, and future ticket sales.

When Arcade Fire played Madison Square Garden, they had 4.3 million live stream users. When U2 played the Rose Bowl they had 10 million global live stream users.

Already, Vevo and YouTube are carving out exclusivity deals for these live streaming global events. Last year, Bonnaroo was on YouTube, this year it was streamed by Vevo. However, as with other social web and social network developments, the trend continues to be toward total access, and access by all for all. In other words, one video company might have the live stream with multiple professional camera angles; other video sites will have streams from users at the event.

As we’ve learned from the recent political uprisings, a media outlet might get exclusive footage of an event. But we will still see multiple reports from others on the ground. No one owns the news. After all, YouTube streams 3 billion videos every day.

My Video, Your Show is not going to stop because of patents or exclusivity deals. That’s not only because of the past, present and future of technology. It’s because that’s the understanding and promise of web user integration and connection.

Why would anyone not want to deepen the relationship between artists and their audiences?

As Rob Sheridan told CNET, “Merchandise, limited edition releases, cool vinyl packages…and of course, experiences. An experience is the best kind of scarcity, and a concert is the best kind of music experience….The value of live music continues to be really high in our culture, and things like the Coachella webcast really add to that cultural value. Coachella also recognized that recordings of live performances aren’t a scarcity, but the event of everyone watching it in real time is. The thing that made it exciting, aside from the excellent implementation, was feeling like you were part of something as it was happening, something all your friends were talking about in real time.”

The best kind of experience. Cultural value. Being part of something. That’s a festival live and online.

- Bill Reichblum

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Peter O’Toole’s School of Management

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Peter OToole

Photo by TinyGlimpses — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Surely one of the better dinner companions would be Peter O’Toole. He also might be one of the better professors of business management.

O’Toole began his stage career at the age of seventeen. He went to RADA on a scholarship where his classmates included Alan Bates, Albert Finney and Richard Harris. Even since the 1962 landmark film, Lawrence of Arabia, O’Toole has been one of the most creative and forceful actors on stage and screen.

Who knew, though, that O’Toole could be such a good mentor to business leaders?

As an “ancient old pro speaking,” O’Toole provided his insights to Dave Itzkoff for the New York Times’ ArtsBeat section. At the age of 78, O’Toole knows a thing or two about process and product.

Here’s O’Toole on stage directors:

I don’t approve of theater directors. Do you know the history of it? The old word was getterup, to get a show up, and to get a show up you had to know everything on that stage that surrounds a production and make it work. Including lighting it, finding the costumes, everything. The last thing they need to do was talking to the actors. We can do our job, thank you very much indeed. Just get on with it and mount a production. On came a load of children from the university who’d had an enthusiasm for amateur drama. [laughs haughtily] Like these clowns, Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn and all this bunch of clowns. I won’t speak to them. When you’ve earned your living on the stage for 10, 15 years, then come and tell me how to earn mine. Go on the stage and earn your living for a dozen years, and get some humility.

Although “these clowns” have done very well in creating some of the most popular and intriguing theatre over the last decades, O’Toole’s point is worth understanding and applying.

At the end of the day, the experience in the theatre is about what takes place between the actor and the audience. No directorial concept or designer’s fantasy world can replace this core value. Besides, once that curtain goes up (that is, if a curtain is part of the director’s concept), the actors are on the their own. That’s why we buy our tickets to the theatre. It’s not about the intellectual exercise of seeing an an old play in a new setting; it’s about the fun and danger of being in the present tense with the actors.

Business can also heed O’Toole’s advice. Too often CEO’s behave like “these clowns”. They think the company is all about their overall design. However, the customer interacts with individual employees. The success of the business relies on the success of the service exchange. As with actors under the thumb of the director, employees don’t perform their best if they feel as though they have no stake in the outcome. Employees can’t do their job if they are a cog in the CEO’s grand scheme with no say, no independence, no opportunity to act on their own. All O’Toole asks of the director is to be inspiring, to give responsibility, and to let actors be at the center of the action. Isn’t that a good goal for a company strategy?

Many years ago, I learned the same lesson. In a New York production of Thomas Otway’s restoration classic, Venice Preserv’d, I was more focused on my concept than on the actors. Early in the rehearsals, one of the actors told me that Thomas Otway had come to him in dream the night before and asked him to deliver a message to me: “Why don’t you go and write your own play.” It was good advice.

What happens to CEO’s who don’t expect to be informed by their “actors” but try to tell everybody exactly how to do their jobs? Here’s how O’Toole handles the situation:

Anybody who would do that to me would get a punch in the head…Oh yes, some people have tried, and they’ve had their reward. From then on, I don’t speak a word to them. From me, you get a mild expression of disgust, and then I walk off and have a beer.

Surely, a lot people, in theatre or in business, would prefer to join O’Toole for that beer.

O’Toole has some films coming out soon. He is always worth watching. Now we know he’s worthing listening to, as well.

Never at a loss for an insight, here are some other of O’Toole’s best quotes:

My idea of heaven is moving from one smoke-filled room to another.

For me, life has either been a wake or a wedding.

The only exercise I take is walking behind the coffins of friends who took exercise.

When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

- Bill Reichblum

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