April 29, 2015

Music Video Asheville History

Design, Events, Music Post by

Brief History of Music Video Asheville

First things first watch the collection local music videos here from Music Video Asheville on youtube.

Let’s just come right out and say I’m proud of Music Video Asheville. We started it 8 years ago, when I was determined to help promote and build the music scene. The idea started at a musicians’ meeting called by the Asheville Arts Council led by Susanne Hackett (soon to be great friend). I called every musician I knew to discuss the future of our music scene and what we could do to build it. Also there was hope that there might be grants and funding if we bonded together as a group. We had white boards, brainstormed and there were lots of great ideas, but the tops were a local music festival run by musicians, health care and they wanted to get their music in films.

The meeting was coming to a close and we weren’t reaching any consensus or actions moving forward, so I stood in the hall and asked each person what thing was most important to them as they left the room (luckily they did not all leave at once). I felt like Slugworth from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory asking everyone for the secret for the everlasting gobstopper.

Of all the things people liked I thought I could really help with this music and film thing. Plus it sounded fun. The idea for a music video screening was born. Lucky for me Victoria Karol was there. She was the band manager for SeepeopleS and happened to work for Cinebarre. She played a major role by helping with the submission form and getting us in at the Cinebarre. We came up with the name together at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company on Coxe. Michael Sule (Asheville on Bikes) walked by and said, why don’t you call it Music Video Asheville. So we did! We sold tickets for $2 at Harvest Records, Static Age and Orbit DVD. We used all our networks to promote. The Film Commission sent out an announcement thanks to Sara Day Evans and WNC Magazine donated an ad.

It was a lot of work back in the “myspace”days before dropbox and facebook and such, to collect the videos on old fashioned hard copy dvds, but somehow we managed to get it done. I definitely went from hollar to hillside to collect all the music videos in the early days. We called all the winning submitters and cheered them on. We couldn’t have done this event without actual music videos, it really was a great showcase of this art form. I always wanted it to be showcase of bands and not a competition, but dang it was fun making trophies like “best use of tiger” and having fun honoring good works.

The pre-screenings were always fun especially at Erin Sholtz house, where we picked the winning videos. Erin’s famed public relations company Dreamspider really helped to take MVA to the next level in the third year. I loved being able to showcase the diversity of the music scene. It really felt vibrant and like we had made the case for us having an awesome music scene.

The event SOLD out and continued to sell out every year. Slowly we raised the ticket price over the years. All the ticket money went to the cash prize for the crowd favorite and paying the film person who gathered all the footage for the performance. Jessica Tomasin and Echo Mountain donated a day in the studio. This was a huge prize. They have done this every year. Scott Kenney was always there at the event to help with tickets and money and advise us on event planning. We historically had the event on a Wednesday so musicians could make it. Though I hoped musicians would fill the room it was a cool surprise to see so much support from the film makers and local music fans. When that support was there, I knew this was a great thing for the music scene. We never had to flyer much, word of mouth always sold this event out. I used to be proud that we didn’t even have to “pop a poster” and folks would come, this to me was grass roots. I also did the whole thing with out any sponsorship. Sound Mind did all the graphic design and helped pay for the poster and ticket printing. But it never cost much just grit and time. There are so many people who contributed time and energy, and I’m so thankful.

On year 4, we brought the event in town to the Fine Arts Theater. I always wanted to have it more in the heart of downtown, and since we were partnering with Hatch Festival... it was time. Erin really helped make all this happen. THANK YOU!! I just kept rallying the scene. Flying Pig productions helped us step up the film submission HD quality. And Jason G and Libre really helped with the event production and we had actual volunteers. I decided it was time to step it up and get a web site. Locke Crawford, a local web developer, jumped in to make it happen. We had Bill Cardine play his newly designed moog lap steel before the event and Ben Lovett spoke in the intermission about his films. We had judges from Paste Magazine and out-a-towners with LA connections. I was featured as a ground-breaker at Hatch Fest and I really felt odd being there by myself as so many people were a part of this event making.

In year five, I was burnt out and passed the baton to Erin Scholze. She really brought it with some great judges and speakers. She kept the vision alive and continued to push all aspects of the event to the next level. Kelly Denson and Jason G brought the red carpet and so much love. Iamavl.com started filming people as they came in,  live stream and we had a bunch of photographers to take photos. There were also fancy cars, thanks to Harmony Motors, you could load out of. In year 7, I passed the hole brand and everything off the Kelly and Jason and they took the event to Diana Wortem. We were able to make a sizable donation to the Asheville Music School and the production of the event went through the roof. I was and am so proud. People could text their votes! LEAF Community Arts gave a huge prize for a film maker to go to Costa Rica.

I’ve learned a lot about giving with this project. Giving away the event and backing out was harder than I thought, but look what happened. It just goes to show, it takes a village and a community. I don’t have to do everything. I can just stretch myself as far as I can, then when the time is right run towards new adventures and growth opportunities and look back with gratitude and love. I do love creating grass roots events and empowering people to do what they are good at and team work.

Tonight a bunch of folks (incl me) organized a Music Video Panel with Asheville Music Professionals (AMP) at 6:00. Find out more here.

Music Video Asheville‘s mission is to: increase the awareness and appreciation of local musicians and filmmakers by showcasing their collaborative works in a public event.

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