'Live music will be back. We need it'

EVAN MURRAY talked to JASON GALAZ of Muddy Roots Festival.

Jason Galaz was born and raised in Southern California with mixed Chicano and Irish/English heritage. He was exposed to a variety of music scenes and cultures, with the benefit of being an 80's kid in America, the last analog generation. Equal parts hard work ethic and rebellion has brought him to the creation of a company rooted in underground music scenes across the U.S., Europe, and South America.

Jason, now a full-time Realtor in Nashville, Tennessee, spends all of his free time promoting and merchandising independent music ranging from Country, Bluegrass, Americana, Blues, Folk, Rockabilly, Punk. Metal, and everything in between. Jason hosts boutique music festivals in various U.S. states as well as in Belgium, EU. He also owns 3 record labels, a merchandising company, & radio publicity firm.

About Muddy Roots

Muddy Roots Music was created in East Nashville, Tennessee in 2009 with the sole intent of bringing a certain style of bands to town. The focus was roots music from folks that may have come from harder music scenes like punk, rock, metal, and skate. The events continue with this theme of blending music and offering a home for bands in between genres with focus always on independent and DIY artists and companies. Muddy Roots has sparked a movement across the globe of similar events and ethos to connect underground music pockets.

Hope all is well, and everyone around you is healthy. Can you tell me what the status is for Muddy Roots at this time?  Give us an inside idea of how things have been happening for the festival. Alive and well, so far!  Muddy Roots hosts multiple festivals and releases albums. We’ve postponed our event in Indiana, US and another in Waardamme, Belgium.  We offered to carry over all tickets to one of the next two years to keep continuity. So far we have not have one refund request. Many of the bands are moving their tours to the same date 2021.  Our two Tennessee festivals are moving forward. This state has had minimal impact and is opening back up in phases. There have been about 200 deaths in 2 months. We are all hoping the numbers decline here on out. Tennessee is naturally distanced with all this land between our families. 

We are being careful with spending though. That was a plan prior to Covid-19. We’ve been wanting to get back to our roots. More about connection and context than production.

What are some of the biggest challenges the festival is facing right now? 

Ticket sales and logistics. A majority of old school Muddy Roots people already have their tickets but newbies are slow to make the commitment.  Some bands are having to cancel their tours. But, others are stepping up.

Are there any plans in place now in case something like this happens again?  If this pandemic flares up then we will pull back and postpone for next year.  What do you see changing in the music industry if anything, with the impact the virus has had?  I think the massive companies will push us back together as quick as they can. There are billions of dollars at stake. I think a lot of small venues won’t survive the economic impact. Others may or may not take their place. That’s the nature of business. Those that planned for bad times have a better chance of surviving.  Which, I haven’t. But, I do have my real estate career to help pay bills when the music industry fails.

As music trends roll, do you have any predictions of what's coming next? From your point of view, where is the live music industry headed?  All the large companies will find a way to implement more profitable models that we would not have accepted prior. They’ll find a way to make money.  It’s the little guys that will have to ride the tide to survive.  Touring will resume in areas with Covid numbers. We will suffer an extended decline but live music will be back. We need it. Any comments or open thoughts? 

I think it’s important to use this opportunity to disrupt our current habits. Reflect on what is important and reconnect with our communities and families. That’s what music is really about anyway, not money. 

EVAN MURRAY is Event Co-ordinator at Live at Heart, Newfoundland, Export Development Officer at Vision 360 (Canada) and Canadian Coordinator at Live at Heart, Sweden. He is also International Music Consultant at Wonderwall Media, India.