Many of you will know Pete Simmonds, who (along with his "beautiful assistant", Drew Black) has become an inseparable and valuable component of the UK folk scene, turning up at festivals and clubs and other gigs to apply his expertise and expensive gear to the task of commemorating performances on video. To date he has uploaded about 6,000 videos on youTube attracting millions of "views". He is the reason why, the next time you want to see what a performer is like, you can find something of that performer on youTube. His videos are snapped up by artists to link to their websites as promotional material - as they are so good, with superb sound and nowadays mainly in HD.
Recently, for the London Regional Day and Showcase, "Simmo" and Drew spent the whole day filming the events (including the workshops) - there are more than a dozen videos up on youTube already. The benefit he brought to that one event, and to the artists appearing, must be in the thousands of pounds. And he did it for some petrol money (effectively cancelled by some extra gear he had to buy last minute), a lumpy sofa and some toast and marmalade in the morning.
Week in, week out, Pete and Drew toil for their hobby, and we - organisers, artists, promoters - reap the benefits. As he has become better and better known on the scene, many nowadays look to him to record their events/performances. They will often offer a free ticket for the festival or concert (he stays in his own campervan usually anyway). They want him there, because he has become part of their own promotion machinery.
And still, unbelievable though it is, there are those who will begrudge Pete and Drew a ticket, and who will treat them like parasites! Now and then - not often, thank God - they will be refused attandance or permission to film. Which only goes to show that there's nought queerer than folk, I guess... Ah, well - they are the losers in the end. For my part, I say good luck to Pete and Drew, and thank them from the heart.