King Tut’s Summer Nights 2012 Is Here!
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
July is officially the most ridiculous month in the calendar. By no means in a negative way, it is just one of the busiest months for all things that are live music.
With no Glastonbury on the cards this year to let the Somerset valley recover, it was the turn of Kinross to turn into Shrek’s bathing swamp. Next up we have Wickerman Festival in the beautiful Dumfries area, but before that we have the now very much established King Tut’s Summer Nights.
Craig Johnston has curated the line-up over the last few years having taken over from music impresario Jen Anderson. ‘#KTSN12 is Tut’s doing what it does best, it’s us showcasing the best new talent in Scotland. I can’t take credit for starting it, Jen Anderson started it. Don’t know what her reasons were but it’s an amazing idea, she programmed the 1st one and I’ve done the rest hopefully she likes what I’ve done with it, she has been a massive help to me over the years and I don’t keep in touch with her as much as I should.’ The festival has become something in the grass roots calendar that not only makes you realise that spending your last 5 quid on a stellar line-up is worth it, but it is a great support mechanism for many emerging artists.
The line-up’s have always been cleverly thought out and Craig explained what he looks for when choosing an artist: ‘I like to try and guess who is playing T in the Park 6 months before the line up is out, Summer Nights has a big presence at T so having the same bands is ideal, even though some people think I have the power to put the bands on at T that I want that’s just not true. I sit on the TBreak panel with 11 other people and it is a democracy that works really well. I look at the press and airplay a band are getting, what their gig trajectory is like and what kind of fan base they are picking up. It is also a thank you from me, I put bands on that have done well on ticket sales for me before and also some bands that I really like that haven’t done well for me before but I think would do well out of a little exposure.’ Glasgow Podcart have been lucky enough to experience the festival first hand and must also point out at this stage that not only is there King Tut’s Summer Nights, but also King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution. A wildly clever idea after the financial commitment of Christmas and New Year, KTNYR is able to pull in crowd to the King Tut’s venue for business whilst also entertaining them.
To organise a programme of this scale is hard work, I find it hard enough to organise 1 gig and promote it to a recognisable standard. To put on almost a month stretch of shows must indeed take its toll, however Craig explains the hardest part: ‘The hardest thing is making it better each year, I have a 5 year plan that I intend to stick to and hopefully we progress each year. I don’t want to sit back and rest, in the words of the mighty Skinner, lets push things forward!’ I think most bands will agree by now that it is indeed one of those events that if you put your work in then you will definitely gain, it is not rocket science.
Some artists have put this into practice and gained exposure from the event. Artists such as Hector Bizerk are notably one of those bands that PR themselves very well and after their exceptionally successful slot at KTNYR12 they have now landed a headline slot tomorrow which is also doubling up as an album launch for the Scottish Hip Hop outfit. Craig mentioned some of his favourite nights of the festival so far, ‘These shows have been real turning points for some bands, Vukovi for one totally upped their game at NYR in Jan and ended up getting one of the best agents around because of the show, they actually had two amazing agent fighting for them. The Meursault show and The Lafontaines show were two of my favourite line ups I’ve ever put on.’ Other artists to do well out of the slots have been Kill The Waves who landed notable support slots following their King Tut’s performance and also gained an adoring fan in the shape of BBC Radio 1’s Ally McCrae.
When it comes to new music the hardest thing is getting the press interested. It is industry norm for media darlings to be constantly looking for the ‘next big thing’. With the power that blogs have now, i.e. publishing tracks and artists on the day they emerge as opposed to a magazine/paper having a week before doing so it often can make things difficult as the feeling is that the moment may have passed. ‘STV, The Herald and The Evening Times are getting right involved this year which is great. Some of the more newsy journalists to report on it can do it in a patronising way sometimes, I don’t think they get that some of these bands will be the next Biffy Clyros and Snow Patrols, not might be, they will be. The entertainment journalists are great; they really have a finger on the pulse and are constantly in touch. I have started to find some blog and alternative media who are getting more successful are forgetting where they came from and are starting to think that the grass root bands need them rather than the other way about. For Summer Nights though everyone is being very supportive and that is great it is all about exposure for these bands.’ Craig says of this year’s media coverage which is indeed very encouraging. We shall have to wait to see who the blogs are that are getting a bit too big for their boots. It is all about the music at the end of the day.
I had asked Craig if anything mental had happened on previous nights, there was a story that I could not publish from a previous conversation, but this was certainly one I could, ‘Last year I went down to the bar on the day of the last show and met Hamish from Kassidy who was in buying a ticket for the show. I told him I’d put him and the guys on the guest list and told him that one of the bands had pulled out. He said they didn’t want guest list and they would fill in for the band. So I ended up with one of the biggest bands in Scotland (They had just sold out the ABC) playing a support slot in Tut’s because they felt that getting 4 people on the guest list was taking the piss.’ Now it is very well know that I am not the biggest Kassidy fan, their music is not for me, but it is very endearing to hear that they sound very grounded to say the least and still remember the lesser known artists, not to mention the people that have helped them get where they are.
So onto this year’s line-up, it kicks off tonight! The full line-up can be found here: http://dfconcertsandevents.com/microsites/summernights2012 and we are happy to be DJing along with a host of other bloggers before the nights kick off. I will indeed be a fucking shell as I will have just come back from a weekend festival, but it is going to be worth it. There will be secret midnight guests on each night and we have seen the list. The one on our night alone will be getting dry humped and aurally bathed in. If I was to give a cryptic clue then ‘bribing government officials in exchange for preferential treatment’ has been associated with their name sake. As for the others you are just going to have to haul your pasty rears to King Tut’s.
I leave the closing words to Craig Johnston, ‘I think it’s important for me to give something back to the bands and to showcase what the venue and the bands can do.’