Previewing Out On The Weekend
Listening Through The Lens talks with Brian Taranto (aka B.T.), Managing Director of Love Police.
LTTL: Despite Melbourne being such an avid music hub, roots music festivals in the city have had a chequered-to-poor history. On the other hand, Out On The Weekend will be celebrating its successful eighth iteration next month. How do you think you have managed to be the exception and crack the code?
B.T. Um, cause we are a little crazy? Like the music we promote, we are a little like cowboys. It’s wild times and it calls for brave, or stupid, moves. Someone’s gotta do it, may as well be us. I’ll always worked that way and we are still here, and putting on great shows. Our passion is the music and all the happenings around that, and it’s not much fun to not be helping that happen.
How did you cope with the pandemic, both business-wise and personally with it being such a drawn-out stopper for the music scene, particularly in Victoria?
Personally I had a break for probably the first time in 30 years, and that was great. We are not a huge business with lots of staff, in fact we had almost none at the time, so no one lost a job and it was just me to get through so that saved some business stress too. I’d probably do things differently if it happened again, but let’s hope it doesn’t.
Thrilled to see you’re bringing out the sublime North Carolina duo Watchhouse for their first Australian tour – it’s a real bonus for the day. How did you find them and what attracted you to bring them out?
An agent I worked with has been pushing to them for me for years and I eventually cracked! I was aware of Mandolin Orange, but had never really paid that much attention. It just seemed they were getting to such a high level in the USA that if we didn’t tour then sooner or later , they would never be able to get here. So this tour is the start of hopefully lots of new fans and regular touring for them. They are an excellent act of course.
Sierra Ferrell played in the smaller Pirate’s Tavern when she was last here in 2018 and now she’s headlining with her band. Her star has risen tremendously in a short space of time, hasn’t it?
Yes it has, and glad that we were one of the first to recognise her talents. She has it all, and she has a sweet place for Australia due to our belief in her. All her shows will sell out on the tour, and the festival show will be very special.
It’s great to see Jonny Fritz return, both performing and hosting – such a live wire! You and he must go back a ways I presume?
I first met Jonny probably 10-12 years ago. At that time the Nashville, let’s call it Americana scene, was quite small and everyone knew each other and Jonny was a decent part of that. He has since moved out to LA, but was a key part of what is happening there now in quote a human, and humourous way. The touring all those guys did across the USA back in the day really forged the path for now.
What would you say are the fundamental criteria for selecting artists to perform? Musical diversity, vibe, mixing international with local performers, balancing drawing power with innovation? Budget? Others?
Pretty much if I like their music, if I think they are decent people, and we can afford then. We aren’t about riding trends. We create them.
There’s some terrific tributes/collaborations on the line-up – Neil Young’s Harvest, the Dolly Parton Experience, Deadnecks play The Dead – which one are you looking forward to the most?
I have only recently seen Deadnecks perform, and they are amazing. I actually saw the Grateful Dead with Jerry still alive back in 1993 and with them I was transported. They are sweet players and very loving in their respect of the band. My original plans for the Harvest things changed to what it will be now, and the change has made it amazing. There have been a bunch of these Harvest tribute things during the year, rightly so. Ours will be the best! All the tributes will be great. Everything’s great at Out On The Weekend.
As well as the music there’s an abundance of other stylish diversions to enjoy – vintage cars, cool clothes, vinyl, hair, with tasty food and drinks available. What can we expect to see in that space this year?
We are celebrating the iconic Route 66 clothing store which was originally in Melbourne, and really set the western fashion trend there back in the day. Their store is now in Sydney, has been for years, and I’m sure seeing them there will bring back a lot of memories for people. We got some new cars and choppers to show off and the usual array of hand picked food and booze.
I love the refurbished green seated area you had in the yard last year. Can you reveal any further innovations for OOTW 22?
The music, the music, the music.
Love Police Records & Tapes was launched about twelve months ago with some terrific new music (I was particularly taken by Melissa Carper’s Daddy’s Country Gold). Are you able to disclose any new material coming out under your banner?
I’m heading to Nashville tomorrow for Americana festival. Let’s see what comes my way over there.
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Previewing Out On The Weekend