Friday, October 23, 2009


Glocal Scene is a documentary by Chestnut Productions about global local music scenes. The film makers, two men from Leeds, travel to seven different countries, from South Africa to the United States, find and interview local musicians, and hear their music.

The issues that emerge in the film have a lot to do with the barriers to entry into the popular music world, the "unhealthy monopoly" of companies such as Clear Channel as a result of the Communications Act of 1996, and the changing technologies and trends surrounding music.

What inspired the film makers to make the film was knowing a lot of great musicians in their home town that could not get past the local scene, and wondering if this was the case in cities and towns throughout the world. They are by no means expert film makers, but this only adds to the organicism of the film. Something perfect and polished would not be an accurate representation of the music or the six months that the film makers spent on the road.

The musicians in the film "don't have the right hair," or "aren't from the right city," so their music simply isn't promoted or backed, leaving it up to the musicians to have their music heard via touring and networking. As the film states, "Those with the most money get the most coverage," and these musicians do not fit the marketing model of the major corporations (and don't want to) and certainly don't have the most money. As one musician puts it, "Your music is ok, but your pants aren't right."

Another musician talks about a three month period around 1995 when "all the rockers were killed, and marketing took over." At the beginning of this period, Nirvana was at the top of the rock world, and three months later, Third Eye Blind had taken its place. Since then, it has all been downhill.

In the end, the result is something that gives hope to those who love music. Although we are "being fed the same 40 songs every fucking day," if you look hard enough, there are plenty of local music scenes with musicians who care about the music and love making it, not for the sake of money or fame, but for the sake of the music. One band member says that he knows there will not be a large crowd the first time that he plays in a new city, but as long as there is one person up front, enjoying the music, then that is enough.

In summary, one musician in the film was asked, "How would you market this (your music)?" His answer was simple. "You wouldn't."


  1. I also attended this film and found it very informative. I love the line about marketing the music. This is a very real situation in the music industry. As large conglomerates continue to take hold, independent artists are being stomped out. Many of the musicians that appeared in the film were great and it makes you wonder if they will ever make it big.

  2. Nice write up Logan!


    Phil Heron