I managed to catch up with Rick Palin of Skyfire Interactive Ltd and Firebrand Radio to have a chat with him about his fantastic event The British Blues Bonanza…
Hi Rick thanks for sparing some of your time to answer a few questions I’m sure people would be interested in the run up to the BBB.
Could you give us a brief resume for people not familiar with you?
First of all thank you Rob for taking the time to chat with me about this event. Certainly for those people out there who don’t know about me I am the creator and chief over at Firebrand Radio an internet based radio station that is currently in its seventh year. I am additionally the managing director of UK PR company Skyfire Interactive Ltd, a specifically designed PR company that offers a one stop solution for bands and artists.
In the light of how difficult it is to put on Live music events why have you decided to chance your arm and go ahead with the BBB?
Insanity and lack of caffeine in my blood forced this decision. Seriously, yes putting a live event on these days is dangerous. There is a lot of punter apathy out there in regards to buying tickets for events and often these events fail simply due to poor turn out. I have decided to go with the BBB simply because of this… Way back in January I sat there thinking about all the wonderful blues artists I have worked with or Have interviewed or spun their records on my Group Therapy radio show on Firebrand. And you never seem to get all these artists at the same event. So basically I thought wouldn’t it be cool if you could have the cream of British blues talent all on the same bill… So I went ahead and did it!
Firebrand although it does have a Blues show is better known for Rock Music so why a Blues event?
There are so many rock and metal events out there that it is nearing saturation point. Even though the primary goal of Firebrand was to be a rock station and I do have my fair share of love for the melodic and alternative rock sound but my first love will always be blues. So primarily the choice to do a blues event was strategic so that we could make sure we got an audience. Secondly the reason was purely selfish. Each band on the bill I have a particular fondness for and it was a personal dream to see them all play the same stage.
I see you have set the event in an iconic venue in Liverpool Studio 2 Parr Street. Is there any particular reason for this?
There is an answer that will most likely get me hunted and killed by venue owners from across the nation but I am not one to shy away from controversy. In my role with Skyfire I work with a lot of venues and to be honest I have found a lot of them less than supportive and crap at event promotion. So what I did I built myself a network of venues that we use for all our events up and down the country that are supportive and helpful and have the same passion for their jobs as I do. The decision to use studio 2 was simple… I wanted a venue that was in a central location as the artists appearing on the bill are coming from all different parts of the country and Studio 2 just sprang to mind as the team there are so helpful and a great bunch of people. Also Liverpool has such a fondness for live music in all different scenes that it seemed the logical choice.
I see the bill has 6 stand out British Blues acts on it. I bet you must me pleased to get such artists at your first time of asking. Just how did you manage it?
Well there are several answers to that question… 3 of the artists on the bill are on my roster of clients. These guys I consider friends more than clients… In the case of Chris Bevington and Trevor Sewell I have worked with them off and on for years now. Adam Norsworthy I worked with last year for the release of his solo album “Rainbird” and I am delighted to say as of this morning that list has gone up to 4 as I now represent Adams main band The Mustangs for the release of their new album “Just Passing Through”. Keith Howe and the guys from Blacktop Deluxe I worked with on the release of the single “Robinsons Shaft” and again another great bunch of blokes. My biggest love in music is female vocalists and someone who has become a good friend over the time I just had to get to headline the event because of such a meteoric rise over the last couple of years and that is the wonderful Rebecca Downes. Suprisingly we get on really well which is good considering I am from Cheshire and she is a brummie… I can communicate with her without the use of sign language or an interpreter, that is a real first for me lol.
I guess at £25 in advance and £30 on the door you are not doing this for the money. So just what is your motivation?
No I am not doing this for the money. I am doing it for two reasons. The first is without a doubt the love of the music and of my guests that are appearing on the bill. Secondly Skyfire is moving more towards the specialised event market. Following the blues event we have a 5 date tour kicking off in late May known as The Bollocks To Brexit Tour featuring 3 bands from London, Belgium and Germany. More news on that on the Skyfire Interactive Website (www.skyfireinteractive.co.uk)
If you had to pick just one highlight of the day in advance what are you most looking forward to?
Honestly that is a tough question to answer. As I am really looking forward to everything on the day and meeting finally all my friends I have worked with over the years… But if I am forced into a decision it will be this. My favourite project to work on last year was Adam Norsworthy’s “Rainbird” which even now a year on gets played on the stereo at least a couple of times per week. Adam is starting the day off with a solo acoustic set before joining the full Mustangs line up later in the day and it will be great to hear those tracks performed live.
Finally and I hope I’m not breaking any secrets here I believe you are planning a second event in the capital with the same bill?
Yes this is very true there is a second event being planned for London around November time… Which will be a lot bigger and additionally feature a few more bands to make an either full day or weekend event. I hate the word festival as it is so over used and to be honest 3 bands in a pub is not a festival so hence the reason I shy away from that term.
Do you have any news for us on the second event. Thanks Rick for your honest and enlightening answers do you have a message for readers who may be considering paying their hard earned pennies for tickets to the BBB.
No news on the second event as yet but news will be coming in June. As of a message to the readers it is simply this. When putting this event together I wanted the cream of British blues talent all in one place to put on a show that would be unforgettable. I believe we have such a strong line up that everyone who buys a ticket for the event will be in for a truly magical day! I hope to see you all on the day and look forward to meeting you.
Additionally, an added bonus is no work on Monday morning as it is a bank holiday!
Interview by Rob Birtley