With a decade-long history of putting on all-ages gigs Savina Kim is something of a youth music entrepeneur. In November 2015 she announced a new music and events industry mentoring scheme called Ignite. Scheduled to start with 10 ‘students’ in March 2016, Ignite is born of her drive to support the personal and professional development of young practitioners within New Zealand’’s creative industries. To background ignite NZM asked Savina to first tell her own story.
Back in 1998, as a 16-year old and a massive supporter of NZ music, it was frustrating missing out on so many local shows as an underage fan. I was tired of seeing bands announce shows, only to be left out in the cold when the inevitable R18 venue was announced.
After much disappointment, it dawned on me that I could help organise an all ages show for some of these bands – and my band could even open for them. The only gigs we had played were at my school auditorium, a neighbouring school and Rockquest, so it was quite an undertaking. I can’’t remember if the show made any money, or how helpful I really was, but do remember that the bands had a great time, got some new fans and – more important to me at the time – my friends and I were able to go!
After high school and a failed attempt at university, I decided to follow my passion for music and study at MAINZ. I developed a great foundation of knowledge and through a tutor’s recommendation, landed my first job in the music industry as a Licensing and A&R Assistant at Mushroom Music. It launched a career that has since taken me through various areas of the industry.
Even through the busiest times I’’ve continued to put on all ages shows. Being now of drinking age I had access to a lot of shows and probably averaged three a week, but there is something special about the energy at all-ages shows and I enjoyed providing opportunities for bands and for young people to discover them.
These all-ages shows were a labour of love and often tested my passion. Cleaning up teenage vomit with bare hands, carrying PA equipment up flights of stairs after finding a broken lift, or losing thousands of dollars in a night. What kept me afloat were the people, some who were experiencing their first ever gig. I will never forget the amount of condensation literally dripping down the walls at the Ellen Melville Hall from a sold out show, or giving a 13-year old a leftover poster and hearing him declare that he had the ‘best night of his life’. These are the moments that make everything worthwhile. Meanwhile I learnt the importance of making lists and doing a budget!
Perhaps it was my deluded fantasy of wanting the best of everything without raising the ticket price, or my desire to run these events as a not-for-profit model with revenue split between the bands performing – but whatever it was, my steam finally ran out and after 12 years I put on my last show in 2010.
I had always provided opportunities for young people to volunteer at my shows as I loved their energy and valued their perspectives. They were, after all, my target audience. In the five years since I stopped putting on all ages shows, I had started to notice some of them were following in my footsteps – putting on their own shows, studying and landing jobs in the industry. I realised that I was unintentionally teaching them valuable skills and inspiring them to forge their own musical paths. Last year, it all clicked: this is what is really going to help shape the music scene the way I’’d always hoped for future generations.
Ignite was born out of this concept of supporting the personal and professional development of our young people, giving them a stepping stone to further education pathways and to discover the various careers that exist within New Zealand’s vibrant creative industries.
Through the programme, we will be producing truly authentic youth events – run by young people for young people, and creating key performance opportunities for young and emerging artists. By investing in the next generation of music industry professionals with mentorship and practical experience, ignite will create a sustainable model to produce more all ages events in Auckland, and eventually nationwide.
Ignite will engage young people aged 15-18 in Auckland with a passion for music and events in a 15-week programme starting in March 2016.
Established music industry professional will be paired up with participants to provide one-on-one information, advice and guidance on an ongoing basis throughout the programme. Participants will further upskill at ignite Seminars in April, which will also be open to the public.
Participants will take part in private tours of music venues, receive practical events experience, and have access to meaningful mentor relationships. The experience and skills learnt will be used to produce a music-based event at the end of the programme under guidance of their mentors and with the assistance of the ignite Event Fund. One deserving participant will be awarded the ignite Scholarship to study a Diploma in Music and Event Management at MAINZ.
There are 10 placements available for 2016 and there is no cost to participate in the programme. Applications open on 25 January 2016, with the programme commencing 12 March. Full programme and application information is available at www.igniteprogramme.org.nz or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org