The Apollo Bay Music Festival seems to reinvent itself every year, and this year was no exception. Whilst I could spend time discussing the pros and cons of such a move, the 2 key “Follow the Money” lessons revealed to me were far more pedestrian than that. To explain…

1. A talented, young, dread-locked, guitar-playing busker was doing his thing in the main street. He had captured the attention of a few of the dawdlers, us included. As it happened, the crowd was slowly but surely building. It started to rain. He was under shelter, as were his listeners. All were morphing into a very nice little groove. And then he announced it was his last song, and stopped. Just like that.

The lesson:
When you have a captured audience, don’t stop playing.
If, how you make your money is what is thrown in your hat sitting out front, then don’t stop playing; at least not until the rain stops. Nobody was moving around, so its not like the replacement or the organisers were hot on the tail…

2.  After experiencing a fabulous midnight musical collaboratory treat, the following day, the crowd were hungry to keep it alive and purchase their memento to take home. When I was in the Merchandise tent around 3pm, there seemed to be some confusion. The showbag, together with the CD, badge and sticker were not being sold as expressed the night before.  Oh oohhh, how many had been asking and not being able to purchase?

The lesson:
Always ensure the money trail is locked and loaded before playing!
I know for many artists, “it’s not about the money man”. But you know what, at a festival like this one, it is. With this festival being one of the few that do NOT take a cut of the purchases, that’s more in the musicians pocket. To leave many sales flagging is just not kosher, and is certainly not smart business.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, always follow the money to ensure that it is flowing into your pocket, where it should be, and not leaking into the ether…