The (not so blue) Danube

I recently visited the beautiful city of Linz in Austria to give a motivational speech on for delegates attending the ICCHP conference. Whilst I enjoyed my supper one evening on the terrace overlooking the famous Danube River I reflected on the fact that due to heavy rain the river was flowing very fast and looked decidedly muddy and brown, not quite the romantic image Johann Strauss had portrayed in his beautiful Blue Danube Waltz.

Talking to people living in Linz about the weather (as we British love to do!) it seems the weather patterns are very similar to ours in the UK. As I watched the heavy barges travel up and down the river I found myself thinking about other similarities between the music business and the Danube.

By day the Danube is full of long hard working barges pushing heavy loads up and down the river both with and against the flow until the evening brings on the twinkling lights of the restaurant and hotel boats trading their wares. The river morphs amidst the moonlight and romance of the night, masking the muddy brown waters below.

Of course the industrial aspect of my musical world is not quite so obvious and the hive of activity behind every performance is well and truly hidden from view. For me and my team the flow begins as soon as a promoter books an event. The administration wheels go into motion and the groundwork begins in earnest.

My team beaver away discussing and agreeing various points, negotiating, organising, liaising on every aspect of my involvement, repertoire is discussed, instruments are organised, travel and hotels are booked and contacts are made. We pride ourselves on creating and maintaining long term relations and we recognise the importance of good communication. This is absolutely critical to ensure the flow is completely synchronised with our customers needs, regardless of the many activities that come and go between us and the promoters we simply must get the show on the road.

Our journey is sometimes very hectic and we have occasionally need to move heaven and earth to ensure the performance goes ahead. Just like the barges we sometimes have to push against the flow, occasionally we get caught up in the reeds (metaphorically speaking!) but we always pride ourselves in ensuring the curtain goes up on time and the audiences are wowed!

Image: Ian Britton (licence: CC BY-NC 2.0)

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