This week I want to give a big old shout out to the folks that spend their time documenting and archiving their local music scene. We all know the importance of the people that organize shows and the people that form bands to play those shows and those that house and feed bands etc. but I’ve been thinking lately about the importance of individuals who spend their time taking photos, videos, recording audio, as well as collecting fliers, t-shirts, ticket stubs, records, and any other relics of the scene they can get their hands on with the intention of sharing the treasures with others.
This is important to me because of how difficult it is to recognize the importance and influence of the current music community on future iterations and the cultural story of an area. I look around to the people making it happen in our local music community and I can see the growth that they have influenced. Each of those people can all point back to a certain venue, a certain set of bands, or one specific friend that represents the scene and the community of the time that set them on the course to do this work in the future. Showing the path that paved the way and lighting the path currently being built can raise visibility to those who may not know what’s going on and quite often encourage the next generation of facilitators.
We’re living in a time when a lot of technical and cost boundaries in the audio, photography, and videography worlds are being torn down. Cell phones can take decent photos and video, DSLRs with video capability have become reasonably affordable, multi-track recording gear is well within reach to any hobbyist. Capturing performances in these ways not only provides a great record of what’s alive and happening, but the content can also be very useful to young bands as promotional material as they grow and work to get projects off the ground.
Capturing live music is not the only way an archivist can work within a scene. Every good show is illustrated with a flier. The history of a music scene can be beautifully described with a collection of t-shirts and cd’s or a well curated documentary featuring early band footage and interviews. Find a way to be involved and go out to leave a mark in history for your local scene. Write a zine, record a band, packrat away some fliers and cds. Borrow a camera, see if they have A/V equipment available at your local library, YouTube some basic editing skills. Spread the knowledge, the history, and the influence of inclusive music community.