Being a gig promoter

Putting on gigs was always something I wanted to do, as I wanted to bring traditional and folk music to the city centre and to a younger crowd, but my lack of confidence prevented me. When I was asked to put on the first incarnation of For Folk's Sake for MAPS festival, I had the perfect excuse and my nerves were not going to hold me back.

However, even after almost a year and a half of putting on For Folk's Sake, I still get terrified before each one. On the eve of For Folk's Sake, I am usually melancholy: I expect a half-arsed crowd, bands to demand money as I am frog-marched to the cashpoint, and I always say to myself this is the  last one. Ever.

Though, I must admit, the nights have never gone disastrously wrong. In fact, far from it. PAs have turned up late, leads have been forgotten. There's been absent-minded poets and microphones balanced on egg-boxes, local drunkards destroying the furniture and there was one occasion when I tripped over a lead and shouted an expletive. But nevertheless, the artists have enjoyed performing - the vast majority asking to come back - and the support from the loyal following has been overwhelming.

For Folk's Sake has gone from strength to strength, and this year, is travelling to London, expanding to Liverpool, participating in a residency, launching a debut album and hosting a tour.

But even when I feel like my confidence is growing and I'm making headway, this week's For Folk's Sake was decidedly quiet and the nerves once again crept in. I found myself apologising to the bands and punters, exclaiming that it's never normally this quiet, and insisting that I've done the same amount of publicity that I've always done.

And then there was my biggest faux pas to date. After thanking first band, Kamal Arafa, for their outstanding performance, I declared them to be a tight outfit. Once I saw the violinist's face fall, I realised what I had said.

No, no, not clothes, I said, waving my hands frantically in the air.

I'm referring to how together they were, I insisted, stressing each syllable.

The crowd had grown by this stage, and now many were laughing uncomfortably.

Oh god, I sound like Alan Partridge, I said, in a vain attempt to salvage any reputation I had left, shuffling off stage and welcoming the setting of the stage for the next band.

Of course, I dwelled on this episode for a good half an hour before I realised it actually didn't matter and was soon forgotten by the crowd, the performers and everyone else, bar myself.

And the crowd had grown. It still was perhaps one of the smallest audiences I'd had, but it was still enough for the room to feel lively, attentive and snug.

After the gig, and by the time I had got home, I was already saying to myself everything's quiet at the beginning of the year. You've got loads going on this year, don't give up.

So I won't. There's video footage from Thursday being edited, there's tech specs being forwarded for our next gig - Thursday March 18th at the Zion Centre, there's artwork being prepared and I'm already booking September through to December.

Bring it on.