When Jack Daniels celebrate a birthday, they know how to do it in style. Most people get a group of their mates, hit the local nightclubs and get plastered. This weekend, JD took birthday parties to a whole new level. Creating a musical heaven tucked away in 'The Devils Arse' up in Sheffield's Peak District, they turned a unusual tourist spot into a stunning live music backdrop. Intravenously feeding the crowd with Jack Daniels until their blood, sweat and tears reached 40% proof, the bar was stocked solid with JD, JD & JD. Branding lit up the cave walls as competition winners flooded in. The Vaccines headlining with close support of the Mystery Jets,Tribes and a hand picked band from the local town. It was a music lovers paradise with all bands playing solid sets to the mesmerised crowd.
It's tough for artists to make money in the music industry right now. More and more brands are noticing the added value and sharp correlation with marrying music to their marketing plan. So does this mean that artists are selling out? Or is it just a wise business decision in a market where free downloads and falling record sales are prominent?
Jack Daniels as a brand links well with the acts on the line up but what happens when 'Pot Noodle' or 'Right Guard' decide they want to do new music sessions? Is it just a brands cheap shot at gripping hold of the artists fan base and desperately trying to make their product credible with the ever plugged 'Youth' market.
Speaking to William Rees, guitarist of the mystery jets he speaks of the struggle of artists today and how the brands backing means they can pay for valuable studio time and ever growing band expenses. Does this destroy the magic of our favourite artists? Or has Coca Cola and McDonalds sponsoring the Olympics opened the flood gates?
With branded lanyards hung around every persons neck, the cave's entrance and walls inside plastered with 'Jack Daniels' logos and a bar where the only drink on offer was JD, is this extreme advertising pushing the consumer too far?
With gig goers sneaking to the local pub to buy rum and coke and bands so overwhelmed by Jack Daniels they swigged cider by the bottle, does this answer our question?
As a talking point, statement and a one off night to remember Jack's Birthday was a hit. A civilised yet somewhat subdued crowd lapped up the atmosphere as the bands played one of the most original gigs in their history. Pushing boundaries in music is where it's at and if that means bands linking with brands in order to survive then nights like these will continue to be one of the new driving forces of the industry.