Writes Elle Kelleher
With live music events essentially cancelled, I checked in with Rebecca Dineen and Robin Daly, Chairperson and PRO of UCC MusicSoc, to see how they’ve been adjusting to Level 5 restrictions.
University Express: Was there a degree of apprehension in how you were going to get the ball rolling this year?
Rebecca: Totally! I was just hoping that things would be kinda back to normal. I saw the Kino, where we’ve had our Battle of the Bands before, were running socially distanced gigs. I thought “Maybe we could do something with this,” but with UCC Societies, we couldn’t get the go-ahead. That’s so fair though, I mean, look at where we are now, level 5. I was still hoping it would all work out!
Robin: We knew we were kind of scuppered, but when they announced level 5, quite late, it was like “Aw, now we’re really screwed”.
UE: What was it like bringing the Singer-Songwriter Competition online?
Rebecca: It’s definitely our biggest semester one event, and we had money for a live event in our budget. We were really hoping we’d get to do it in person. Such a huge part of music is the live element. It’s a different adrenaline performing, that crowd atmosphere can really push you to be better.
Robin: The sound of a person can be so different live, too. Previous years, you’d get a submission and it would sound great, but then you’d see them live and go “Oh my God, who’s this?” It’s a really good social event as well, and it’s really upsetting that we don’t get to meet everyone and make friends.
Rebecca: We decided to go with uploading videos as opposed to a live stream, purely for quality. We had an event in the summer where we streamed and the video was kind of shaky and the audio wasn’t great. The videos as well gave the artists more freedom, if they wanted to edit or do a few takes. We have judges that can watch it as well from home, but the videos being online was great for the audience vote. We created a great buzz around it online because everyone was liking and sharing trying to get their friend’s through!
Robin: We’re all about that free clout!
Rebecca: We definitely got more submissions for it this year than last year. We had so many, and the standard was so, so high. The fact that it was online encouraged people who maybe would be a bit stage-shy to submit.
UE: What’s the plan next?
Rebecca: As long as we can do Battle of the Bands in person, we will. Whether that’ll be with restricted numbers or not, we’ll have to wait and see. We have it sussed with the Kino, we’ll just have to wait and see! It’ll be a much bigger stumbling block if we have to do it online. We’re also thinking about trying to get a third big event up and going, which would be an event for producers. There’s a lot of people [who are] into mixing their own stuff, so maybe getting something like that up for next semester.
Robin: Every Wednesday, we’ve been uploading covers too, to replace the open mics we used to do in Barbarella.
Find the finalists of UCC Music Society on their Facebook page.