Recently I wrote about the Y Prog Festival going under, horrible news. However it does make you think...
Are there too many bands competing for the same audience?
As the original 70's/80's prog audience gets older will they be less inclined to go to gigs?
Too many bands sounding very similar and not enough fans to support them?
People only have limited funds, these are tough times!
So in ten years time where will "Prog" be? Bands playing a rehash of the old stuff to an ever dwindling audience?
This is where Jazz is now and that's a very difficult place to be. Very hard to get gigs outside of the jazz festivals or arts council events. (I know there are some wonderful examples of interesting jazz stuff, i'm talking about the mainstream festivals).
THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!
There is a whole new wave of interesting bands from Knifeworld to Antlered Man to Trojan Horse and many, many more to embrace. They may not be "proper prog" but they're bloody good and exploring similar "progressive" areas. Hopefully an audience will build for these bands. It's not about washing away more traditional bands and their fantastic music, it's about PROGRESSING. Lets expose some of the more traditional bands to a new audience too. It can work both ways! Why can't we have the great more classic prog bands alongside the more unusual bands? Prog needs to diversify to survive!
Porcupine Tree did well by crossing over into metal and doing gigs with bands like Sonic Youth etc and that fed back into their growing "prog" audience. I hope Knifeworld or someone like that can do the same. It often only takes one band to cross over, to do a "Nirvana". Although i couldn't imagine it becoming mainstream like that bringing in more fans is always a good idea. Although the likes of Syd Arthur have the potential.....
My own band The Fierce And The Dead came to prog as mixture of 70's King Crimson/Mahavishnu stuff and bands like Sonic Youth and Black Flag (and all sorts of other music) which comes out as being a bit "reverse engineered prog". No, the traditionalists won't like it. But does that matter?
I think this potentially a very exciting time. let's see what happens.