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SAMRO AT SPLASHY (article first published : 2006-04-3)

Performers and revellers at the Splashy Fen Music Festival taking place in Underberg from April 13 to 17 will find two major changes to the ever-popular and keenly anticipated Free Stage. Firstly, it will be situated in the main marquee and secondly, this crowd-pleasing showcase opportunity for up-and-coming talent has a new sponsor for this year’s event - the Southern Africa Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO).

The inspired change in venue was prompted by festival organisers’ drive to enhance its prestige and generate an even more dynamic atmosphere. Operating between morning and early evening, the SAMRO Free Stage will allow bands and solo artists total access to the full backline and professional sound engineers. This “equal pampering”, says coordinator Andrea Arbuckle is “proof of our commitment and our dedication to growing the SAMRO Free Stage into a fully-fledged component of the Splashy Fen festival as a whole”.

SAMRO is a society of composers, lyricists and publishers which licenses their music for broadcast usage, public performances and diffusion services, then distributes the royalties back to the rights holders. “SAMRO is taking the opportunity to promote new, unsigned artists who in the near future may gain considerable benefits from joining our collective,” Andrea adds.

Of the doubtless many who will make submissions to be included in the overall roster, certain groups and individual musicians will be deemed more appropriate for the ‘acoustic-inclined’ daylight hours and be offered one of the six allocated SAMRO Free Stage slots. Bands and soloists who do not submit demos but still want to play will have the opportunity to register at the festival each morning.

Splashy Fen organisers are “especially aware” of the need to promote previously disadvantaged musicians and welcome their pre-festival submissions or on-site registrations. The emphasis on acoustic sounds will nonetheless encompass almost everything from avant-folk and free-form poetry to yodelling and a cappella singing.

Registration and music opens at 10h30 on April 13 at the stage. To keep it fair, bookings for each day from Friday to Sunday are done from 08h30 on the day.

The six or eight acts considered “best of” the SAMRO Free Stage will on Sunday evening go forward to a final in the Grant Erskine Marquee, renamed from the Bamboo Stage in honour of Durban’s renowned photographer and “friend of Splashy Fen” who died suddenly during 2005.

The most popular overall band or solo performer will be rewarded with an advertised slot in next year’s festival. Several of today’s leading local musicians gained their career-launching exposure via this route, so all singer-songwriters, groups and instrumentalists looking for that ‘big break’ would be well advised to take full advantage of the SAMRO Free Stage at Splashy Fen 2006 – this opportunity will not come around again until Easter long-weekend next year!

More information from SAMRO Free Stage Manager Andrea Arbuckle on 082 377 2610 or visit www.splashyfen.co.za




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