Helen Meissner started an Arts Foundation to support new and emerging acoustic, folk and roots musicians and says she wants to help bridge the gap for artists who write their own songs, between the music which is taught in schools and colleges and the real world where they have to work hard, with a business and marketing head, to get taken seriously and get themselves and their music ‘ out there ‘.
“This does not come easily to most musicians and quite honestly, it is better if they use their spare time for writing new songs. I am offering support for all acoustic, folk and roots musicians and have created a framework which means I can help as many artists as possible by help them to build their confidence, experience and the skills needed to be noticed in a sea of stereotypes.” After a couple of years pursuing this aim for a number of bands and musicians across the country, including The Folk; an all girl trio of 17 year olds who write and play their own pop folk music, Helen has now set up a community interest company called Folkstock Arts Foundation to deliver similar marketing and mentoring services to other acoustic, folk and roots musicians.
“Its purpose will be to provide a platform for all unsigned artists, no matter how much experience they have, or how old they are, to get advice and heavily subsidised practical support on presenting themselves in the best possible light and ultimately to open opportunities for aspiring artists to fulfil their dreams”
She says; “I want to help to help them develop their audiences, to reach out and make connections with their community and also encourage musicians to explore their creative ambitions with their own original material. Interestingly, it seems this is the only venture of its kind in Hertfordshire, a community interest company focussing on Folk Roots and Acoustic music, which might help explain why Herts Music Service and all the regional music colleges in the county are telling their students about it. The word is spreading !”
The programme is designed to cater for every musicians needs from offering coaching, mentoring, branding, presentation to radio and press releases, credible performance slots and recording opportunities to students and young people who need a confidence boost and a plan of action. Finished radio quality EP’s are even part of the subsidised programme.
Folkstock Arts Foundation will be holding several events over the next six months to create a platform for the artists who are on the programme and to raise the profile of acoustic and folk music in the region. With relaxed acoustic ‘under the stars’ mini festival master classes at Church Farm Ardeley, and live events across the county there’s plenty of choice.
“The biggest of these events is Folkstock Acoustic Festival in September. With an ethos of making good music accessible to all, I want it to be affordable too. We have unusually low ticket prices, at £10 for students, £20 for adults, as we want to get rid of the elitist stereotyping which does new musicians no favours at all,” Helen said.
Taking place on September 21st and with over 70 musicians performing, Folkstock at Aldenham Country Park is being billed as Hertfordshire’s answer to the Cambridge Folk Festival. FolkstockArts Foundation is still looking for sponsors, partners and benefactors. And if anyone is interested in stewarding, or volunteering in any way – we need photographers and videographers, journalists and bloggers and creative people to make the site look stunning so that Hertfordshire beams with pride, please get in touch via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”