The Golden Opportunity- Limmud Conference
It was just under three months ago when I was contacted by Limmud international conference in England who asked if I would be interested in performing at their 2,500 people conference. Limmud is a festival/conference where all denominations of Jews come together to engage in deep social, spiritual, formal and experiential learning sessions. There are world class Speakers, Rabbis, Publishers, Visual Artists, recording artists, educators, and enthusiasts who participate by facilitating sessions or just go to learn. Other artists who have performed there in the past include: Matisyahu, Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Sam Glaser Billy Jonas, Dan Nichols, Julie Silver and Michelle Citrin. Having just joined this niche of Jewish spiritual music in the past 5 years, I was honored to receive the invitation and jumped to the occasion.
As being a touring recording artist I find performing at Limmud to be a “Golden Opportunity.” I have heard from a handful of people that Limmud doesn’t know how to treat the presenters and musicians. I’m very surprised to hear that, because that’s not the case. First of all, Limmud covers round trip flights, puts you up in a private room for the week, pay for your fee to participate in the conference and all the meals. As an artist they showcase you with state of the art sound, lighting and promote the heck out of you to the community. The best part of my experience was working with the sound engineers. I come from a culture in america where many of the sound engineers are gruff, lazy and aggressive. I have experienced gigs at clubs where the sound engineers show up late, do not care about giving you a proper monitor mix and leave the sound board during your performance. Andy, Jon and Ian (sound engineers) made themselves accessible to the many updates in my orchestration during my main night gig due to loosing my voice. They made themselves available for any questions and were completely present in all of our performances. The staff at Limmud were divine. Anytime an artist needed support they were there to listen and help create powerful experiences for us. The staff worked day and night for a week to make sure everything worked out. I had a serious issue and lost my voice for 4 days and during my soundcheck for my main performance I was going to cancel my gig. I walked outside and spoke to David Hoffman who is the director of the international talent and he coached me to switch the orchestration of the gig to support my energy level and voice. He told me not to cancel and to recreate the experience. I indeed did, and the performance ended being one of the highlights of the festival.
I know there are many artists out there who can’t fathom playing a gig internationally without receiving their booking rates. Yea, there are artists with this “diva” attitude and to them I say, “Wake Up, and be grateful for the invitation.” I know business is business and we get paid for our work. Limmud does pay you. How much would it cost to fly international, pay for the festival and room and board for a week to showcase your music for 2500 people you would of never met if you didn’t get invited? Think about happy many new gigs you will be invited to perform from volunteering your time on this one. The successful business owners participate in trade shows. If this is your “business,” then it’s your job to share with the world your product. I played 5 gigs and also taught a workshop on writing Jewish spiritual music. I already have been invited to participate in a handful of other Limmuds all over the world. You may too. Just be open to showcase what you do.
A “golden opportunity” should be celebrated. I am grateful for the opportunity Limmud has given me and looking forward to be invited to share my music at conferences like this all over the world. Blessings and light!!!!