10th October 2013 saw Hug a Drummer day. Every good group relies on a skilled percussionist, after all they are usually the ones who we rely on most to keep a rhythm, beat and the essential essence of our desired music, but it is fair to say that sometimes these powerhouses are neglected and forgotten about. Without such members, we would soon notice how different and even weak music can be, so hail a day to celebrate such a musician!
jazzysheepbleats posed some questions to Glen, one of the main protagonists in organising such an event:
1. Why do you think this kind of event is so important?
It’s about spreading love and showing appreciation. It’s a cross between R U OK Day (www.facebook.com/ruokday) and Take A Smile (www.facebook.com/pleasetakeasmile) with a musical twist. Drummers are often heard but not seen so it’s nice to share some of the limelight that is usually taken by the guitarist or lead singer.
2. Who has been involved with this campaign?
Due to my Instagram account @drummingco I had already been in contact in some form or another with a lot of custom drum makers, such as Serenity Custom Drums (@serenitycustomdrums), Sleishman Drum Co (@sleishdrum), Brady Drums (@bradydrums), Supernova Drum Co (@supernovadrumco), Hogchain Custom Drums (@hogchaincustomdrums), Outlaw Drums (@outlawdrum), Calderwood Percussion Instruments (@calderwooddrums), Diamond Drum Co (@diamonddrumco), Evetts Drums (@evettsdrums) and Index Drums (@indexdrums). They lent their support in posting about it on either their Instagram accounts or Facebook Pages or both. There was also Rob from Rock The Drums (@rockthedrums), which is a drum studio in Canada, was also heavily involved in getting the word out.
3. Why did you want to celebrate the drummer specifically? Are you a drummer who feels neglected?
Drummers are probably the least celebrated of musicians on any given stage. Not only are we up the back, and obscured, we tend to have to be the first to bump in so we can lug our gear into that back of the stage position, and then also the last off. In between we’re the ones with the most physically demanding role.
I thought it would be nice to get some exposure and a little appreciation. And everyone loves a hug.
4. How did you celebrate hug a drummer day?
As much as I would have liked to have walked the streets of Newcastle (Australia) and solicit hugs from strangers, I had to go to work that day, but I did get hugs from my wife and two daughters.
Prior to going to work, the morning started with being interviewed on radio station 2HD, which surprised my mother in-law who had no idea what I had been up to until she heard me on the car radio.
There was no physical location for the event, it was wherever you were. Maybe next year we can have a few meet ups.
5. How successful do you think this campaign has been?
We had almost 7,000 people join the Facebook event, and within a week over 3,000 people liked the page www.facebook.com/hugadrummer but the numbers far exceeded that in terms of exposure.
One of the posts on the Facebook page had over 6,000 shares which had been viewed over 400,000 times. That doesn’t take into account the number of times the post had been saved and reposted by others. I found it funny when long time, real life friends on my Facebook friends list would share their friends’ posts about it or tell me about it, not knowing my involvement in the day.
6. Do you see a future in such a celebration?
I do. It can only get bigger and better. Next year I’d like to get cymbal companies involved in addition to the drum manufacturers who loved the idea this year. What would be great is if drum shops could use it in their local advertising and promotion and run a sale in conjunction with the day.
In the lead up to the day it got a mention in my local newspaper the Newcastle Herald (http://www.theherald.com.au). It would be fantastic if next year news of it spread to other traditional offline media and was covered in more papers, not just in Australia but around the world. A few street parties with plenty of percussion would also be great to see.
7. What do you want people to take away from such a celebration?
It’s a bit of light-hearted fun that is nothing too serious, but if people can get a hug, a smile, a pat on the back and feel appreciated then the day has accomplished something.