Australian Music Vault at the Arts Centre Melbourne is hosting a series of public talks, and tonight I went along to the second one titled Can I Have Your Autograph? which discussed the role of fans and fan communities. Facilitated by writer and journalist Jenny Valentish, the panel consisted of my friend Peter Green (PR and fan club for Crowded House, Split Enz and Skyhooks), Lynne Trute (Nick Cave collector and fan), Owen Lambourn (co-founder of the Kylie Krew fan community for Kylie Minogue) and Holly Pereira (writer and assistant booker at Howler).
The panel discussion was quite interesting and covered a variety of topics. They started with discussing their earliest fan memories and then how they became involved with the artists they work for or support. There were interesting stories of encounters with fans (and how to spot the scary ones), as well as the importance of the fan community and the role it plays in their own lives as they've developed personal friendships. I know for me that my own fandom of Crowded House and the Finns has allowed me to travel around the world and meet people I wouldn't have otherwise become friends with. Peter Green and Lynne Trute also talked about their extensive curator and archival roles for artists to document their musical histories. I liked how Peter noted that each band usually has one member who acts as the historian for the band. Overall it was a really interesting hour long discussion and just confirmed that fan communities are pretty similar across the board.