The South West Music Awards 2013

So that was the South West Music Awards 2013. 

It took place at 'Charlie's Live Lounge' a new club thats by the Pizza hut in Cowick street. As you go in you get the feeling that normally its a venue that plays dance music to boys and girls in track suits and Burberry Caps. 

A truly horrid venue where they charge £10.70 for 1 glass of wine and one bottle of Kopperberg. while trying to order a lemonade and blackcurrent the barman had no idea what blackcurrant was in any way shape or form. The PA was appalling, you could not hear a single word for the first few hours as the mic was distorting to buggery. The locals were getting restless as they had nowhere to sit, many who had travelled a fair way to get there. 

Far less movers and shakers there than usual but good to chat to a few of the great and the good such as Jackson Cooper, Adam Isaacs, Chris Mockridge, Marie Belsten, Lee and Lisa Fletcher, Andy Botterill, Andrew Padfield and Sarah Woodward as well as the Sirens girls, Mozura,  the Reigning Days chaps and a few others that my brain cant quite remember the day after! And the Exeter local records guy had a stand there the ONLY local music exhibit there, and I think I was the only person from a band there doing any kind of form of active promotion by touting round promos of the new Secrets For September CD. 

Myself with the 2 Andys

It was a shame it was a Friday, as that’s a giging day for most musicians, and TSWMA is not an event that is big enough yet to warrant cancelling a gig to attend. 

Rev Hammer did a great job of comparing this year, being local he gets it and while John Robb is a pro being a Manc he thinks there is nothing in the world of music past the M62. Though Mr Robbs sarcasm was missed. People got awards, how it was voted and judged is very questionable but if you play in Exeter a lot, or have something to do with Phonic then you have a good chance of winning something. 

I was asked to present best folk award, and I had a speech all prepared but because the PA was so poor I didn't really say much at all. 

The event was on two floors as it was in a club rather than a venue (and last years venue was spot on), downstairs were several bands playing where they had a really decent sounding PA and felt like a much better place to hang out than the main event. 

The awards came through, some of my friends like Billy Bottle, Lee Fletcher and John Govier all won a gong. After the interval where Carnivala did a great set,

Above Carnivala

I was called upon to back Irish singer Olive de Ville for a 10 minute 4 song set. This was the first time that myself and Dave had played together outside the Secrets For September environment. Thankfully by that time the PA was starting to sound a little better though there was no actual sound operator present for the whole set. But we managed to get through it all ok and had there been a better PA there in a decent room (ie like last year) then it would have been quite good. 

Myself, Dave Holwill and Olive De Ville

The rest of the evening was more awards, half the attendees by this time had gone home, and not long after I did the same. 

There was no real dramas like the first one with short angry man from Wang Chung, but this time it did feel that the event was really a parody of itself. They got it pretty much spot on last year. If there is one next year a few lessons need to be learned. The award selection needs more transparency, a better venue needs to be sourced, the event needs to be on a non gig day and some proper media involvement.  


Marie Belsten said…
Thanks for the mention Matt, and for your comments about the bands and the PA in the downstairs bar, both of which were provided courtesy of Mingle Music Agency and CRAMP - /
Hope you will excuse the shameless plug ;) x
Matthew North said…
Not at all you did a fine job.
What a shame more wasn't made of this event. Where would you suggest for a spot on venue next year Matt?
Matthew North said…
The ballroom in the thistle that they used last year was great. but actually the corn exchange was good first time round for one thing much more room and a VFM Bar thats a winner.
Sarah K said…
Everything about these awards is just rubbish. No music industry credibility, amateurishly produced and a complete con from top to bottom. Hope trading standards shut them down as they are an embarrassment to the southwest music scene as many peeps are saying!
Claire LZ Stowe said…
Spot on Matt.
We travelled up from Plymouth and felt pretty let down by the event. For a starter - no programme (we had to use our trusted mobile phone to bring up the itinerary from the SWMA thrown together webpage)...
Not enough tables - was expecting allocated seats for the nominees at least. Standing at the back made it difficult to not only hear above the huge crowd of noise at the bar but also see due to the amount of people also having to stand. On the subject of noise, the only category that the compere took control of the noise was the first one, the rest (and there were loads!) were missed due to the lack of boundaries/respect from those talking throughout and the awful P.A.
the whole 'voting/ nominating' system was a sham too - so many people were confused with it and as I know youre already aware, allowing covers bands to be nominated in a tribute category was most unfair (one covers band have expressed their anger at that one!I believe they travelled all the way from Newquay)
£15 a ticket..for what? usually you'd expect a 'with down with food' for that kind of price - not even a complementary drink on arrival though!
All in all we left shaking our heads we stayed until the end as we'd been asked to collect awards on behalf of a couple of bands- the room was about a quarter full by that point!!! We wont be attending again but we are inspired to put on something similar for the Plymouth area ...and do a professional and respectful job of it!!
Matthew North said…
All very good points Sarah and Claire
Matthew North said…
My post appears to has upset someone, it was never intended to offend anyone I just wrote what I saw and what happened, and I will repeat last year was a very well put together event, this year wasn't.

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