We’ve had an amazing few days at the Tree House. I wanted to keep our first anniversary celebrations low key, for various reasons, but it was lovely to mark the occasion, and we had an excellent tea party in the afternoon with all sorts of people dropping in, most notably our incredible team of volunteers, who brought cake, ice cream and lots of good cheer. They even put the hoover round and put wheels on our new trolley while they were here.
Tom the Philosopher (a wizard when it comes to sorting, pricing and shelving books) reckons that now we are a year old, we need to go to the next level. That could mean all sorts of things, but what it means mostly to me is live music. That’s the area where I need to do a lot of work – bringing in musicians, creating a better ambience, organising things more efficiently, marketing events better.
One of the really lovely things that happened this weekend was that Radio Warwickshire folk presenter Tamsin Rosewell recorded a couple of interviews for her radio show (which is back in the autumn) at the bookshop – one with Lucy Ward, fresh from her performance at Warwick Folk Festival, one with Stevie Jones, so look out for those! Her producer Tim, who manages bands and is generally a music industry wiz, said that the acoustic in the shop is just brilliant. No wonder our Big Comfy Sessions have sounded so good (well, I imagine the awesomeness of the performers had something to do with that, but you know what I mean!). So we are going to build on that.
We walk a tightrope financially, which holds me back a bit when I’m thinking about who I could get to perform here. But this whole venture has been about taking one risk after another, and so I ought to feel ready to take a risk on this, in order to get the Tree House more established as a small, intimate music venue. We have seating for around 30, can get 50 in if some don’t mind standing, perching, sitting on the floor or stairs. Acoustic music has worked really well, we’ve had some truly wonderful gigs here, and some of the performers have said how much they’ve enjoyed playing here. Amplification is not really needed, though I appreciate some groups use microphones to get the right balance – we don’t have equipment, but most seem happy to bring their own. In due course, we can of course get what’s needed – with advice from those in the know!
So if you are a musician – acoustic, folk, jazz, classical – who fancies a small venue with an appreciative audience, do get in touch – 01926 856843 or firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you. Our general policy is to pay 75% of the takings to performers, but I’m happy to discuss any terms you might have.
We have re-established the film club; started informal socials on a Friday night (weekly, unless some other event is happening); we are launching a monthly Sunday Salon on Sunday 3 August in the afternoon for literary discussion; a new monthly book group on Monday 18 August in the evening; a new mindfulness course will start in September on Tuesday evenings; our Nifty Needles needlecraft social group on Wednesday evenings is growing and is great fun. These are all wonderful, and I hope to increase attendance particularly at the films and socials – but live music is such a very special thing, and I do hope that by the time we are celebrating our second anniversary next year, we will indeed have taken the Tree House to the next level, creatively and financially.