Back in June a unique meeting was held that heralds the beginning of a more cohesive group of family artists in the Portland area. KindiePDX was (un)officially formed in a meeting of several artists who came together to meet face-to-face – some for the first time – and share their ideas, goals, frustrations and solutions with each other.
In a happy coincidence a couple of nationally known, multiple-Grammy®-winning family music artists graciously accepted the offer to attend and spent a couple hours with the local artists, sharing their road-tested insights into the business of independent family artists. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer were in town playing at a Portland Folk Music Society event at the TaborSpace Coffeehouse, which they sandwiched into their time spent in Astoria at the Tenor Guitar Gathering event.
They were a veritable font of information, which they shared at length with local artists Van Oodles,Greta Pedersen, Lori Henriques, Professor Banjo, Mo Philips, Joe Seamons of Renegade Minstrels, Jeff Inlay of the Alphabeticians, Seattle artist Keeth Apgar of Harmonica Pocket and others.
Most of the information shared dealt with making it as an independent artist – how to make a living doing what you love, ideas for building your career, sources to turn to for funding of projects and programs, and not a few road stories and words of wisdom generously given in the spirit of helpfulness and encouragement to younger artists finding their way.
It’s the hope of KindiPDX as a coalition to be a source of encouragement and advice for each other, mutual support for projects, and eventually collaborations with each other in the Portland area. Also, it is fast becoming one of several similar coalitions around the country, where groups in Chicago, Seattle, LA, San Francisco, Boston, New York and other areas are reaching out to each other and across the country, for advice on business matters, which venues to play, gigs they have for other artists, and to share what they’re doing – their own events, gigs and milestones. A lot of the activity is in Facebook and other social networks, where access is easy and answers are swift and plentiful.
Some groups have websites, others rely on social networking. KindiePDX will also be having more events for the artists such as workshops and panel discussions on the business of being an artist, live showcases which are videotaped and then later critiqued so the artists can get feedback on their live shows, and other trade-related meetings. There are no dues, no regular meetings, no “officers”, and really no rules except one: share and learn. Well I guess that’s two.
Since summertime is the busiest time of year for most family artists, activity as a group is relatively remote, with interactions primarily via Facebook. But come the fall, there will be more activity and more energy put into the coalition.
This is just the beginning. Look for more venues, more artists, more projects and other fun stuff developing in the Portland metro area. Kindie artists are joining forces, helping each other and finding new ways and new places to get their music out to Portland families.