all know that the entertainment industry has taken a massive knock
recently with the whole lockdown situation. The people who were once
using their creativity to bring happiness to many, all of a sudden have
no job and have lost their ability to pay rent/bills - I cant even
imagine what that would do to somebody’s mental health… especially when
recently told by the (UK) government to retrain and get another job!
are however, an awful lot of entertainers who have not allowed this
situation to get them down and have moved to entertaining online with
live streams and so on. It’s not the same as entertaining a live
audience, but they can still carry on doing what they love.
chap that I came across who has the best of both worlds is Pete Hartley
from Worcestershire, UK. Even though he can also play Mandolin and
Guitar, his instrument of choice is the Violin and he usually would be
doing gigs/events such as weddings, care homes and on stage at his local
Christmas market. Obviously, these gigs are on hold at least for now,
but luckily for him he is also a talented Busker and the powers that be haven’t yet made busking illegal!
initially tried doing the live stream thing from home, but
understandably found it slightly depressing performing to a
camera/computer instead of a live audience. It can also be a lot of
effort for not a lot of money, as performers tend to work for “tips”
rather than a wage and there’s so many people who have had to resort to
this method of earning. He now only does these sort of live streams when
he feels like it because your mood comes across on the camera, and he
prefers the interaction of an audience. It’s also very difficult to
gauge the enthusiasm of the audience on a webcam.
started his professional music career in 1980, taking inspiration from
the likes of Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and The Crusaders. When he
was 19, he packed his bags and hitchhiked down to London - it seemed
like the thing to do back in the day if you wanted to make it in the
music world. He joined a jazz/rock band playing music that was composed
by the Keyboard player. They were then lucky enough to enter and win a
competition for The Greater London Arts Association, which was judged by Jon Hiseman and Barbara Thompson who asked Pete to join their band Paraphernalia.
he they went from playing fairly small gigs to playing huge gigs of
about 5000 people which as you can imagine was quite intimidating at the
time. He then went on to playing for the musical Blood Brothers, which
is a musical by Willy Russell set in Liverpool. This tour lasted about 5
months before he decided to move on, as playing the same thing 8 shows a
week gets a bit too much after a while.
1985, new music technology started to make an appearance and Pete
realised that he now had the opportunity to make his own backing tracks
using what would now be classed as a primitive drum machine and
cassettes (remember them?!). Along with an amplifier and trolley, he was
now able to take his music to the public, anywhere he chose. This was
an exciting time, as he was able to create his own material with the
added benefit of being approached in the street for bookings.
has since done seasons performing variety shows at places such as Alton
Towers, American Adventure (which is an old theme park that no longer
exists) and Blackpool Pleasure Beach where he was involved in a show
called Mistique. As well as the various corporate events and weddings,
there was also a period in the early 90’s where he was successfully
selling his cassettes/CD’s in shopping centres and somewhere in his long
career he even learnt how to ride a Unicycle whilst playing the Violin -
a man of many talents!
although he admits it wasn’t an easy ride we have to admit that Pete
has had an extremely busy and varied musical career and even now with
everything going on you can still find him out and about doing his
thing. Thank you Pete for the chat; it was an absolute pleasure.
If you would like to find out more about Pete Hartley, You can find him by heading to the following links:
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