On the afternoon of Thursday 24th October 2019 five acoustic performers take to the stage on board a unique setting – a floating pub situated on the River Thames. The event itself had a humble beginning, starting with just a regular trip to London by Hull based singer/songwriter Kevin Malton. After a music related meeting fell through and with a non-refundable train ticket in hand, his options were clear: stay in the north east, go to London and do the tourist thing for the day or find somewhere to play his music. Sifting through Londons vibrant selection of live venues, The Tameside Dock were contacted and able to offer their lower deck for the afternoon, setting the foundations nations for what is a free and simple event, with invitations from other performers to make what is an excellent lineup.
A call was then put out to find other interested singer/songwriters and the applications came flooding in, and after searching through various Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube links, he found the right blend of music for the event. Though all of the acts are acoustic based, they all combine an eclectic mix of different genres, with Jowan Long mixing rock, folk and punk, Margarita Helene’s distinct vocal delivery offering a unique sense of originality, Ben Sommer’s stripped back punk infused set and Marianna Bernadini’s must see performances. We caught up with self-promoter Kevin to detail how his use of intuition and love for music managed to curate such a unique event.
For those who don’t know, could you go into a little detail about how the event came about?
I’m from up in Hull and was heading to London on the 24th for a music related meeting that ending up being cancelled. Me being me i’ve bought non refundable train tickets which aren’t cheap so I figured i’d find somewhere to play in London. Thursday afternoon isn’t an ideal time for live music granted but i’m confident the venue will be buzzing and it will be a great atmosphere.
As you are an artist yourself, how did you find the roster of performers for the event and what spurred your decision to choose them?
I’ve got Jowan Long playing who i’ve done a show with in the past and who I saw perform at The Cottingham Springboard Festival so I know he’s got some great tunes and he’s a solid live performer. He’s from up in Hull I think or was certainly based around here for a bit and now living and studying in London so it was a perfect fit logistically too. For the other performers I basically put a call out to see who was available and I got dozens of applications. This enabled me to select the right performer and balance for the show. Margarita Helene and Marissa Bernardini are both female singer songwriters who are very different musically and Ben Sommer does punk rock that works acoustically. Everyone is playing acoustic but we are all different styles of music to some degree.
What made you choose the Thamesis Dock over other venues?
I looked at several venues but The Tamesis Dock was the one I really wanted. I don’t think you can get a more unique setting than a floating pub on The Thames. They regularly host live music so it’s a known venue and it just look incredible. They have been super accommodating and extremely easy to work with.
Is this something that you would like to build on, or maybe have a follow up event?
Most definitely. Live On The River is a totally free event but if I can get a fair few in the venue it’ll go a long way to proving I can put on an event, albeit one with no budget whatsoever and with only three weeks to plan and promote the gig!
For those who want to get into building events, what would be your advice given your experience?
I’m not very experienced in promoting events but i’ve worked with several promoters from being a singer/songwriter myself so i’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Just creating a Facebook event or page for the gig won’t cut it – you need to contact blogs, podcasts, newspapers – actively encourage people to attend. If there’s something unique or special about the gig make sure everyone knows (like being a floating pub!). Basically it’s about trying to create a buzz and all it can cost is your time really. I’ll be stood on The Embankment early afternoon on the the day of the show handing out flyers and encouraging people to check us out.
As for your own music, is there anything you have out at the moment that people can listen to?
My latest single release is called ‘Won’t You; it’s a lovely acoustic tune about being in a long distance relationship. It’s on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, Youtube, everywhere really.