It is simply wonderful when something as wonderfully simple as two guys talking on a stage can hold the audience absolutely in the palm of their hands.
That’s what happened last night when we had a few friends of Entertainment for Business along to Vicar Street to see Blindboy as part of the Dublin Podcast Festival.
The room was packed and there was a crackle of anticipation as the man in the mask ambled out to take his seat, a bag of cans in one hand and a vape with ‘only water’ in the other.
We didn’t know if it would fly, and neither did he. No stranger to being on stage as part of the Rubberbandits this was different.
Taking an essentially introspective podcast out in front of a 1,000 strong audience must have been pretty daunting. At the end of the night some two and a half hours later, as he almost literally skipped from the stage, we felt as though we had been witness to another reinvention as a live chat show host which could be one of the best.
There is no doubt to anyone that has listened to Blinboy that he is smart. Smart as a whip in fact and comfortable discussing as well as tearing apart some of the most important issues of the day.
We covered homelessness, politics, the Presidential race – “What, have they just run out of Ferraris for middle-aged men to have their crisis with,” – through the Cocaine crisis in Limerick, there’s none; and the nuance of filming scenes of sexual violence which means we will never watch The Snapper in quite the same light.
The special guest for the night was Roddy Doyle who warmed to the wit of his inquisitor and delivered a couple of quick one-twos that suggested the two were really enjoying themselves.
Blindboy’s method of sourcing questions from twitter led to a few old chestnuts in terms of bands that inspired the Commitments and friend’s Dads that might have been the role model for Georgie Burgess.
The best thing was that this was deeply intelligent yet wildly entertaining stuff.
Leagues O’Toole from Aiken Promotions and the team at Headstuff have a real understanding of the Podcast universe and this second rendition of the Festival is bigger, better and yet still pitch perfect in terms of delivering what the vast army of earphone wearing commuters are listening to.
Last night was a complete sell out as have been so many of the events over these two weeks.
From our perspective of looking at the commercial angle, this has to be one of the best potential sponsorship opportunities in the arts.
Two weeks across multiple venues and with talent that reaches out in a very strong way to audiences that cover every sector.
Last night’s staging was two chairs, one table, and a black canvas. To imagine a lighted sponsors logo appearing from time to time was not a stretch.
Advertising and promotion ion podcasting is done with a light touch and while you wouldn’t want to be precious, that letting go of control over how you want to see your brand positioned can sometimes lead to the best engagements of them all.
Like any Festival there is the potential for multiple partnerships but clutter doesn’t work so well in such a stripped back environment.
Having one headline sponsor and creating content promoting brand and Festival that can be used by individual shows to promote their own participation looks like such a winner.
Whether its a phone company, upon whose product most of the podcasts are consumed or anyone that wants to create an edge that feels niche but is, in reality, mainstream and totally bought into by the audience, whoever takes a chance will be rewarded.
The Podcast Festival runs until next week. Fight to get a ticket you will not be disappointed.
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