Singer-songwriter Sarah Saturday resolved that, while on tour with her powerpop act Gardening Not Architecture, she would make time to talk with local music fans and promoters about what DIY culture means to them. And so, on Sunday, Oct. 10, Saturday held an informal DIY workshop at all-ages venue The Hoosier Dome in Fountain Square. Those in attendance included members of Piradical Productions’ street team, other local promoters and young adults who have been involved in booking concerts at one point or another.
Saturday runs a social network, EarnItYourself.com, which provides information on venues and bands. The site also functions as a zine of sorts, hosting articles by bands and fellow travelers that detail concert experiences and life as a musician.
Some promoters think that making a Facebook event and inviting everyone is the best way to reach fans. While this isn’t as hands-on an approach as traditional street team tactics, workshop participant Stephen Zumbrun of Piradical Productions says that it’s worked for him in the past. Before their recent breakup, Bridge 9 group Have Heart played at the E.S. Jungle with minimal promotion behind their show aside from a standard event on Facebook—and by the end of the night the venue had completely sold out. So much for fliers.
But Saturday stressed the appeal and importance of flier art and other handmade promotional tools. For example, though people don’t regularly make each other mix tapes on cassette anymore, many bands are turning to the format for a more palpable music experience. Maybe this adoption of a dead format could be seen as too “hip” to really be considered D.I.Y. But it's a case in which a music format becomes art, as opposed to solely a product.
On EarnItYourself.com, Saturday says this about her goals as a musician and promoter:
“’Earn It Yourself’ is the idea that one must earn one's successes in life the right way, without compromising his integrity, ignoring his instincts, or turning a blind eye to his values. He must earn every dollar in his pocket by means of his mind and his will-not by means of others' pity for him, or by begging for alms. It is not a philosophy for those who make "fame" or "fortune" their goals; rather, this is a philosophy for those whose goals are tangible, and have substance and meaning.”
Though Saturday admits that she has worked closely with festivals like the Warped Tour, she says that even a corporate-sponsored behemoth can allow people to connect in authentic ways, and that organizations affiliated with the tour are working to connect musicians and fans across the nation through traditional D.I.Y. methods.