It’s fair to say that it has been a tough year for us at Songs of Praise. Two venues decided to stop using us to arrange their music and we parted company with a third on purely amicable terms. Audiences have in many cases been a fraction of previous years and making ends meet has proved a difficult task in the last 12 months. We tried to bring bigger, known acts to the town’s venues, but even for these shows the numbers have been disappointing and resulted in some pretty hefty financial hits.
This has led us to make some fundamental changes to the way we operate. After nearly 11 years of Songs of Praise operating on fixed nights at The Victoria including the “First Thursday of the Month” where it all began under its first captain, we will be booking in a more ad hoc way and less frequent manner. We have shows booked in at the venue which we will of course be carrying on with but new shows will be added as and when they meet enough of a perceived demand.
And that I guess is the issue, we have always operated to a difficult brief, one of original and out of town bands, often requiring a leap of faith on the part of the punter and we feel that there just isn’t enough support or demand to make that type of show viable any more in Swindon.
On the up side our musical brother in arms Jamie Hawkins will continue to run the Songs of Praise unplugged sessions at The Rolleston and we have the new monthly sessions at The Golden Lion in Bristol from January.
Philosophically we have to look at this as the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, one full of promise for the publicity, booking and record label side of what we do, but sadly with less time spent at the sharp end, the place we feel most at home.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of the story thus far, venues, sound engineers, agents, bar staff, media crew, bands and most of all fellow punters and music fans, obviously we look forward to continuing the relationship with you all in 2017 but a different musical landscape requires a different approach and so this is just our way of adapting to those new challenges.
Ed and Dave