Shred Kelly livens up festival
By Erin Knutson
The #BuyBasin Festival on Facebook has begun courtesy of the Columbia Basin Trust and FestivalSeekers. With its spring arrival, the promise of new beginnings for businesses and consumers is alive in the Columbia Basin.
Local businesses and entrepreneurs are braving the virtual world to show off their goods and services live on Facebook over the next month with the help of festival-provided social media coaches who will engage in one-on-one training with individuals. Sage McBride (right) from the band Shred Kelly is one of these experts.
“I will primarily be setting businesses up to go live and teaching them to create engaging content while brainstorming with them to develop best practices – I have seen engagement go up 200% just by doing live Facebook feeds,” said McBride.
The musician, entrepreneur, and mother of a toddler is part of a specialized group that will be coaching 100 local participants on the social media platform until the end of April.
McBride was called to the festival by a long-time friend with FestivalSeekers. She was eager to lend a hand to help people in the Basin promote themselves, given her experience as a musician and businesswoman over the past year.
Part of McBride’s job is to help entrepreneurs go live by showing them the ropes on Facebook and helping them navigate the internet.
“Businesses will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community through the festival and to people who might not be aware of the diversity of commerce in the area – this is an invaluable tool that will help people reach a wider audience,” she said.
McBride acknowledged that the past year has been challenging for the music industry.
“The industry is frozen – artists have pivoted to live mediums to promote themselves and to try and create new revenue as the music scene continues to be suspended with COVID-19,” said the ‘Shred Kelly’ band member.
Through trial and error, she and her band have successfully carried on using creativity, ingenuity, and experimentation with the internet and their social media platforms.
“The internet is a bit of a beast. It’s important to connect people and share our stories and to use the internet as a medium,” said McBride.
The Fernie-based artist arranged an online concert for ‘Shred Kelly’ at the beginning of the pandemic that met with a viewership of 80,000 people.
“People are grateful for the connection right now, and it’s important to reach out to the community – it doesn’t matter how many people you reach, even that small number are grateful for that opportunity,” she said.
McBride has watched her skill level rise significantly over the past year, partly through necessity and partly through the desire to be prolific with her band.
“We started at the basic level on the internet with updates, and stories and have gone to live sessions with members playing in separate rooms because of restrictions,” she said.
According to the folk-punk-pop-rock artist, the learning curve has been intense. The need to generate revenue has spurred the group to make personalized singing telegrams for clients. So far, they have made 100 in total.
McBride encourages businesses to have fun with live Facebooking and other virtual mediums and to be authentic with the process.
“It’s important to connect, and if people are uncomfortable going live, they can always find a charismatic staff member to help promote things,” she said.
According to McBride, the festival is about creating awareness. It’s an opportunity for local businesses to support each other while promoting local consumerism and showcasing unique items for people to purchase and enjoy.
“It’s a chance for people to see merchandise they might not normally see or associate with your business, and if you’ve posted a video they like, they might follow you on Instagram, and it will usually boost sales,” she said.
McBride has been instrumental in curating the music lineups for the #BuyBasin Festival. ‘Shred Kelly’ will be playing live over the next couple of weeks at the festival as the band continues to promote their upcoming projects and the album ‘Like a Rising Sun’ they released last June.
The group is also releasing a mini docu-series online that follows them on their 10th-anniversary tour across the Kootenays, ‘Ski Towns – A Decade of Music’. The series is available on their social media pages, and a new episode will be released every Wednesday over the next four weeks.
“I hope that business will increase in the Basin and that the festival will create a sense of community,” said McBride.
The #BuyBasin Festival videos are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until April 27.
All the LIVE Facebook broadcasts are available on the @BasinBusinessAdvisors or @FestivalSeekers pages, as well as the Facebook event page.