Autumn Music Preview 08 - Tennent’s Mutual
As the first season of the Tennent’s Mutual gets underway, with gigs for Glasvegas in Dumfries and Hot Chip in Aberdeen, Malcolm Jack takes a look under the hood of the new ‘co-creative’ initiative
Don’t worry if you’re still scratching your head at the concept of Tennent’s Mutual – the ‘experimental’ new ‘co-creative’ music initiative, which launched its first line-up earlier this month – you’re in good company, and even Tennent’s’ Senior Sponsorship Manager Elaine Forbes, one of the brains behind the scheme, admits it’s ‘not easy to explain it in a nutshell.’
‘The important things to get across are: that Tennent’s Mutual lives online on a daily basis, on the online hub, and it’s really about creating new and affordable live music provision in Scotland,’ she explains. ‘It’s Tennent’s working with the music community and music fans – who can sign up as members at www.tennents mutual.com – to define which acts they’d like to see, where they’d like to see them, and crucially, how much they’d like to pay. Tennent’s are subsidising the shows so that there are no booking fees, and all income goes back into the Tennent’s Mutual fund.’
Simple as that really. The first season – booked on the basis of 4981 votes cast by the 3737 members signed up so far, and bankrolled out of the £150,000 starter kitty Tennent’s have put up – has yielded shows by the likes of Glasvegas in Ayrshire and Dumfries, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy in Glasgow and Edinburgh and Hot Chip in Aberdeen.
Many of the top 10 nominated acts – Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Daft Punk amongst them – were either unavailable or beyond the budget this time. But as Forbes points out, if people get involved and attend this year’s shows in large numbers, swelling the available funds, there’s no telling what shape the 2009 season might take.
‘I’d like to think that people are optimistic about this, and see the potential in it,’ she says. ‘If you like what we’ve done, get online, sign up and garner support to do something new. The Tennent’s Mutual has no fixed format right now, and next year it could be something completely different. There’s nothing wrong with people thinking big about this, because who’s to say that next year it’s not unachievable to get one of those artists?’
Tennent’s Mutual kicks off with two warm-up shows featuring James Murphy and some excellent local supports at CCA, Glasgow, Sat 20 Sep and the Caves, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Sep with gigs from Teenage Fanclub, Glasvegas and more across the country. See www.list.co.uk/articles/tennents-mutual