One of the reasons OffBeat was created was to create a way for musicians to feel good about themselves.
Now, as a whole, musicians who work hard at their art and skills are confident and feel good about their ability to make music. Where most of them are deficient is in the arena of making enough money to live a decent life, to support a family, and to retire without having to become a pauper living on the streets.
But they certainly don’t feel appreciated. And they really don’t feel appreciated outside their peer and fan groups. For the most part, they feel exploited.
If I told you how many times over the years I’ve been asked to recommend a band for an event that would play for exposure…well, I’d probably be rich.
OffBeat then was created to give the musicians and “culture-bearers” a means to reach their fans and be treated like the sublime artists that they are; to be appreciated for the incredible contribution that make to our community.
New Orleans isn’t like other cities. In case you live in New Orleans (or in the metro area and use New Orleans as your cultural center), it’s not the same here. Hearing local music is part of our growing-up process; it’s part of our celebrations. It’s the soul and heart of our culture. It’s also one of the main things that supports our hospitality economy.
Yet music and musicians are not recognized properly and venerated enough. This is what OffBeat is all about.
It takes a long time and a lot of experience to become a doctor. And it takes a long time, experience, and sometimes a lot of luck to become a successful business person (whether you work for yourself or you get a paycheck). It also takes a long time to become an accomplished musician. In most cases, there’s not much of a monetary pay-off for a lot of musicians, no matter how accomplished they become. It’s very hard to be an artist and under-appreciated.
Musicians need to be paid for the art and pleasure that they provide, and they need to given the utmost respect for the contribution they make to our local economy. But that typically does not happen. Thus, OffBeat, and thus, the Best of The Beat Awards.
Because I’m probably a stupid businesswoman, I never perceived the Best of The Beat as a means to make money (but then I didn’t see that in OffBeat, either!). My intentions were to help the music community, make them stand tall. To tell the world that we have the best music in the world; not just during Jazz Fest, but all the time.
I’m aware that many in the city and environs are not as deeply involved in musical culture. They don’t have the exposure or the inclination to appreciate local music, and that is a damned shame. Now telling this to the readers of OffBeat.com and the Weekly Beat is like preaching to the choir. But we depend on you to spread that gospel by reading OffBeat, and supporting what we do.
Come to the Best of The Beat Awards next Thursday evening at Generations Hall. This is the one annual event that purely celebrates local music and musicians. We’ve got seven bands (New Orleans Suspects, BateBunda, Honey Island Swamp Band, Jonathon Boogie Long, Sweet Crude, Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers, and a Tribute to Ellis Marsalis, our Lifetime in Music Award recipient). Show your support for our local music, and also enjoy food from 25+ local restaurants. It’s not only going to show your support, it’s gonna be a blast! Come to the Best of the Beat Awards next Thursday to cheer on our musicians. It’s recognition…and it’s a pawty, and a great way to meet and greet local musicians.