On Sunday afternoon, I attended my very first Not Enough Fest event—a Musical Skillshare at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. If you aren’t familiar with Edmonton’s Not Enough Fest it's project designed to support more queer folks, trans people and women getting involved in the local music scene while addressing barriers within the local music community. There is no age limit for the Fest or these workshops. It's a supportive environment determined to be a safe space for everyone who attends.
“The Not Enough Fest Collective started in 2014 when a group of us saw a hole within the Edmonton music scene. We entered into this project with a desire to nurture a scene that would represent the experiences, identities, and creative practices of those who are often silenced in our current cultural climate.
We’ll work together to eliminate barriers to involvement, provide community supports and access to mentors, practice spaces and instruments throughout the months prior to the festival, with a final all-ages festival featuring brand new bands playing their first show in May 2016”.
Jasmin, Not Enough Fest Collective member.
The Musical Skillshare began a little past 2 pm with a brief intro followed by a How to Start a Band 101 panel. The panel consisted of Cassia Hardy, Nicole Boychuk, Ashanti Karimah Marshall, and Laura Stolte, who are all successful Edmonton artists. It was an educational 45 minutes and the four of them covered the issues of how to find practice space and band members, the trials of booking shows and touring, dealing with inner band conflict and sharing the spotlight, as well as their individual songwriting process and growing as a musician. Basically, make a niche for yourself in the local music community, talk to people, create connections, and don’t jump into a band without really getting to know one another. Not Enough Fest also provides jam space, gear, and recording and photography opportunities to each newly forming band. The Stanley A. Milner Library is also a great resource for anyone interested in creating and recording music. Their Makerspace is a completely public creative and collaborative environment where you have access to Vinyl cutting, book printing, 3D printing, and instruments and studio space.
After the How to Start a Band 101 panel, we moved onto the vocal lessons. I never sing so I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be trying in front of a group of strangers. However, the talented Sierra Jamerson was so bubbly and inviting that my nervousness quickly disappeared. After some quick introductions, we started off with breathing exercises then attempted to hit a few notes. It wasn’t easy but it was very relaxing, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed singing. Sierra’s tips for protecting your voice are always wear a scarf in the winter, stay hydrated, don’t smoke cigarettes, rest your voice (don’t try to be a hero), watch out for processed sugars because they cause phlegm, and be mindful of what you eat or drink right before a show.
Stacey Hyde, the drummer for Banshee, instructed the drumming session but I signed up as a childcare volunteer and wasn’t able to attend. But it sounded like fun, very loud fun, and if there’s a skillshare event next year I’ll definitely be signing up for drums.
The event ended with the guitar and bass lessons, led respectively by Billie Zizi and Stephanie Bosch. I chose guitar and walked out of that lesson with a new found appreciation for guitar players everywhere. Billie was great. She’s extremely talented, and I was envious of both her skills and cherry red electric guitar. However, I’m not musically inclined and haven’t picked up a guitar since I was thirteen. I quickly felt overwhelmed and debated between setting the guitar aside and watching the other five participants play or continuing to struggle. But Not Enough Fest is such a supportive environment that bailing wasn’t an option. Instead, one of the NEF volunteers named Nicole helped me one-on-one to figure out the chords and finger placements. I even signed up afterward to be a mentee for guitar lessons —who knows maybe I’ll get the hang of it.
Check out Not Enough Fest’s Facebook page to keep up with news and updates on future workshops and events. Not Enough Fest is a great (and necessary) resource for the city to have.
Photos provided by Karen Green