Friday, December 29, 2006

Where will the money come from?

It's not easy getting grants from anyone, as we know only too well at the Vortex. I think that too many of the bureaucrats are getting too distant from the realities of where the music is happening. For example, at the Vortex, the original Lottery application was turned down. So was the application for money for the opening of Gillett Square, Andy Sheppard's Dalston Saxophone Massive. In both cases, it was due to a scepticism as to whether the venue, or the particular event, would succeed. Similarly, when we had a meeting at the Vortex with the Arts Council, the first thing that was suggested was that the football season during the World Cup could not have succeeded. Of course the opposite was true - the season covered its costs from the first day, and apart from one game, there were never fewer than 50 people there.
By contrast, we receive individual sums of money at random but fast. One night recently, we got £1700 (!) from two particular people just because they enjoyed the night and we had told them of our needs.
In part, it's a matter of a lack of trust and lack of ability to understand the risks involved. Also, we have only once had an Arts Council official come to the Vortex (Denys Baptiste came to support Nikki Yeoh).
In fact, the Vortex does better as a "regeneration" project. That's where the money for the building and the Square have come from. The great benefit to the Vortex is that they just let us get on with booking the bands whom we want to book.
Not that I'm against the principle of funding from the Arts Council or other similar bodies. It's a good discipline. Nevertheless, it's taken nearly 6 months to get the form applying for money for the piano complete, because we don't have the resources to finish it properly, and there's too much else to do.

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