Break[ing] national and international talent in the city without breaking people’s banks.
As a new waves of free entry shows hits Bristol leaving us all for dead, we speak with Miles Jelfs of The Fleece, one of the minds behind the project.
So Miles, what’s the idea behind Ping Island?
Working with major industry players to break national and international talent in the city without breaking people’s banks. Investing in artists at grassroots level is something we feel very strongly about, though there is so much live music happening in Bristol that people simply cannot afford to hit up everything, often meaning tough choices have to be made. There are plenty of great free entry nights in Bristol, though less so at this level and so in making Ping Island shows free entry, we hope people can continue checking out new music more freely, offering both artists and fans greater exposure without leaving everyone out of pocket. By working in this way and in also extending the bills to locals artists, everyone gets to be a part of it.
And it’s all a collaboration between The Fleece, Mother’s Ruin and Stag & Hounds, how did it come about?
The intimate vibe of these shows doesn’t always lend itself too well to a 450cap national touring venue and so we decided to look outside of The Fleece for somewhere that would best represent them. Paddy & co already put on a ton of great shows in a similar vein, and along with their shared ethos for working with local acts meant we knew right away that we wanted to work with them. They have been instrumental in getting this off the ground and the shows look & sound great.
D’you think it’s important to have independent music organisations like yourselves teaming up?
Definitely. There is so much happening musically in Bristol that it makes sense to pull together where possible and to share resources in what is an otherwise fiercely competitive market. A bit of camaraderie can only add to the continued success of Bristol’s music scene and we would encourage fellow promoters and musicians to get in touch, support each other and to support these shows.
What can people expect when they turn up to a Ping Island show?
Expect great music! The only theme here is quality. We’re not genre-specific and will book anything we believe in. Come on down and challenge your tastes — it’s all free!
How often are you holding them? Will they keep going over the summer?
Naturally the summer is a quiet time for touring acts but for the most part we would hope to be putting on at least a couple of shows a month. Ping Island was only launched six weeks ago and already we’ve had three very successful shows and are working on a further five between March & May.
That’s awesome. So d’you want to leave us with a couple of your fave upcoming Ping Island shows?
We’re especially looking forward to Raketkanon from Belgium (Apr 28th). Their Steve Albini produced debut is out this month and I went to check out one of their ‘tyrout’ shows in London earlier this month and it was off the hook! These guys are one of the best things to come along in a while and are getting great press — it’s going to be a crazy show!
Check out this somewhat mental track and video from Raketkanon right here: