One thing I really struggle to understand is rivalry in the world of local music. Whether it’s promoters or bands, venues or fans, so often I notice a nasty streak of hostility from one side against another. If anybody should understand the importance of supporting your local scene, surely it’s those of us who are involved ourselves.

Take Now Then, for instance – a magazine which is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things and relies on the support of its readers and contributors to exist. Musically, it helps up-and-coming bands, putting their names out for people to notice and perhaps have a listen, as well as continuing to support the local names that are really starting to make it.

Now Then isn’t a big, corporate magazine paying professional writers mega bucks to break into the houses of big-time bands and steal their latest hits. Nine times out of ten, a Now Then review is going to be written by somebody you’ve sat next to on the 75 to Woodseats, who went to a gig they really enjoyed and wanted to tell other people about it. It really pains me to hear or read negative slurs aimed at these people, just like you and me, who got a couple of facts in a muddle. We’re all human here. Bad words and bad vibes might mean fewer people pick up a copy the following month, which could end up bringing something that actually helps out a lot of people to a bit of a sad end.

The same thing so often happens with bands. Anybody who knows anything about the music industry can tell you how incredibly hard it is to get off the ground as a musician. Time and time again, it’s about knowing the right people and having the right connections, or at least having a big enough supporting group around to keep you afloat. A couple of destructive remarks as you’re getting your feet off of the ground can be fatal to a young band.

Say one fairly unheard-of band makes a few negative comments about another fairly unheard-of band. Somebody hears a sample of a new track and likes the sound of it, but quickly remembers that ‘they’re a bunch of nobheads’, so doesn’t bother checking the band out. If things could have been  switched around, so both fairly unheard-of bands said nicer things about each other, they could have both ended up with a handful of new fans, and could perhaps haven taken a couple of steps towards the dream – whatever that may be.

I’m not trying to say that everybody is going to get on with everything. Maybe there’s a venue in Sheffield that you don’t think sounds that great, or you’re really not into the latest EP by the new sludge metal group who have started renting the practice room next door. But can we all just be a little bit nicer to each other? It might not be to your taste, but I’m pretty positive it’s going to be making a bunch of people happy in some way.

We are the people who understand the struggles of trying to raise the money to keep your little venue in business when you’re up against chain bars who can actually afford to pay their bands. We should be the ones buying the hand-printed band t-shirts so the tour can go ahead. We should be the ones telling everybody, “Those guys are from Sheffield. You should check them out.”

We have an incredible spirit here. There is such a wide community who are willing to support independent creative people. We just have to remember to be humble, and not to get carried away thinking that our taste is the right taste, or that our band deserves it more than theirs, or that anybody isn’t cool enough to be a part of our musical clique.

We all rely on kind words from other people. It’s what makes the world go around.

Tasha Franek