It isn’t easy being a musician these days. OK, it’s never been easy, but today’s music industry is a landscape that is shiftier than the Pacific plate that so many great musicians call home. Between the wave of clubs toppling like bowling pins and the royalty graveyard of the internets, the flow of indie music bucks has slowed to a trickle. Yet the need for a little music therapy in these hard times has never been greater. What are artists and music fans to do?
Nathan Moore, in the guise of Hippy Fiasco, is creating a new paradigm of his own design. In the summer of 2010, the perennial darling of the folk and jam festival circuit and frontman for the rockin’ Surprise Me Mr. Davis unexpectedly found himself facing a new adventure. When a festival in Northern California failed to pay their performers, Nathan, his road manager and a companion decided that instead of heading home with their pockets inside out, the techno-savvy trio would pick up their cell phones and make a few calls. The flight home was canceled and they set out on a spontaneous tour thrown together with the help of friends, fans and Facebook at a moment’s notice. Touching down in living rooms, backyards, pizza parlors or anywhere someone volunteered to play impresario-for-a-day, the Hippy Fiasco tour took flight and made a lot of people very, very happy.
The idea was simple and brilliant. A perfect win-win. Artists need places to play. Fans love to connect with artists. No agents. No ticketing convenience fees. No ten dollar beers. Just a donation at the door keeps the show on the road. And maybe if they’re lucky, they get a place to stay and a hot meal!
History repeated itself this February when Nathan once again canceled a flight home, this time after finishing the triumphant Tour D’Amor, where he opened for ALO. I had heard that he had a few free days in the Bay Area, so I got in touch to see if he might want to have a little Fiasco at my house. A few days later, there was Nathan Moore, in my living room, melting the hearts of fans and friends and broadcasting the love to an online audience via webcast. And then he announced that instead of heading back to Virginia, there would be, starting immediately, a four month national Hippy Fiasco tour, ultimately arriving at his West Coast home away from home, the High Sierra Music Festival.
I must admit, I had a panic attack or two when I first realized what I had gotten myself into. What do I do? What if no one comes? Who the hell did I think I was? What if this is the worst.house concert.ever? But the truth is, it was so easy and fun that by the time the guests started to arrive, I was relaxed and able to enjoy every moment of a fantastic night of music, friends, and hanging out with one of my favorite musicians-turned-friend.
And the good news is, maybe you can, too! The schedule is wide open now, and operators are standing by waiting for your call. Got a living room, basement, community rec room, or other gathering space? Can you reach out to your network of friends and neighbors and rally a crowd? Then perhaps there’s a Hippy Fiasco in your future. If not, keep an eye out; there may be one coming to your town soon. Just grab your kazoo and join the Moorechestra! (Joanne Narad)
Here’s Nathan Moore launching the tour on the web cast from Joanne’s home on February 24, 2011. And keep in touch with the unfolding fiasco here.