Some of you have heard that there was a Town Hall Meeting last night concerning the Pittsburgh Music Scene. Unfortunately, this was not the outlined plan session everyone was hoping for. The city is still trying to understand what is needed to help the scene. With no concrete answers for you, I can at least catch you up.
The people chosen to head this project are the following:
- Thomas Agnew, of Boom COncepts and Jenesis Management
- Charles “Poogie” Bell, Grammy Winning Jazz musician
- Liz Berlin, Former member of Rusted Root and owner of the Mr. Smalls Venues
- Emily Plazex, of Music Industry Connected (MIC Pittsburgh)
- Dave Wheeler, of the band Outside/Inside and Carousel
The only factual information that I can give you is that the city is looking into things we often hear people having issues with; the 5% entertainment tax, noise laws, and the other bureaucratic things. Last night turned out to be the city asking for information from us. They want to know what we see the problems as. The issues with that is, you can’t ask members of the Pittsburgh music scene to answer “What do you see wrong with the scene?” in less than two hours and all taking turns speaking. It’s a multi layered issue that everyone sees different aspects of… And this is Pittsburgh. Here, normal emotions are like dynamite walking around looking for a lighter so when packed into a room, expecting answers and being asked questions, it did start to get heated. Despite the comment from one person, there was no angry mob and no one got shouted down. Don Pitt had obviously come to listen, and let us talk, because he needs to know what the people who live and breathe the music scene are saying. He took the mic once but no direct question was asked that he could easily answer and so he gave the microphone on to the next person needing it. I caught up with him right after this meeting and he was glad to tell me that so many things people had brought up as issues are covered in the report to the city, so it looks like we weren’t the only ones seeing this.
What was brought up in the meeting? Too much to cover. I’m going to write several opinion pieces on the things I saw and heard. I have heard you mention these same things. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette only covering large names, the disconnect between genres, the need for pay, need for exposure. I heard multiple things being asked for that I’m a part of the teams forming them, like a media hub site to find all the types of coverage in Pittsburgh’s Music Scene. What I really heard though? A lot of people that want this scene to thrive. People shouting out that we WILL create the scene we want, that there will be The Movement we’ve all been asking for. After the meeting I saw people of all backgrounds in the scene and genres, talking and meeting.
Maybe there is no ‘Pittsburgh Sound’ and maybe we are disconnected but what I saw gave me hope… Even if there are no answers yet. This panel didn’t meet before an empty room, every genre seemed to be represented, if only by a few, but that shows we’re willing to fight for what we love and usnite for a cause we all hold dear. If you want to be a part of this and help them see your side of the story, go to this link (http://pghmusicproject.org/) and give your opinion. We’re all in this together, it’s our scene, let’s create positive change as a unified movement.
Love, Lady Jaye