From the ashes of cancelled Raw artists showcase, a revolution is born

Natural born artists are banding together to put off their own artistic showcase to replace the now cancelled show.

Stephen Miller

The RAW: natural born artists showcase scheduled to take place Thursday, Nov. 29, has been cancelled amidst public criticism of their business practices from the local artistic community.

In response to this cancellation, local artists are coming together to create a new showcase – and they’re doing it their way.

Eliza King, 24, is an up and coming artist in St. John’s. She was contacted by Raw to be a part of the now cancelled showcase. King believes while RAW’s approach was worthy of criticism, there is inherent value in showcasing a diverse selection of local talent under one roof.

“I started messaging people and was like, ‘Hey, since we’re doing all the work, why don’t we just bypass RAW and rent the venue ourselves,” King said.

Eliza King is a burgeoning visual artist in the St. John’s area. After the cancellation of RAW’s controversial showcase she decided that local artists should put of a show of their own. Submitted photo.

King originally agreed to be part of the RAW showcase, but after seeing the reactions from other artists and reading up on the company, she pulled out before the show was cancelled.

Like other local artists, King took issue with RAW’s requirement of each artist having to sell $300 worth of tickets or alternatively, cover the equivalent cost. The idea is that artists pay to be part of an event that will provide much more exposure than any one artist could achieve on their own.

King says that since RAW provided the venue only, the artists could put off the same event with less risk and more reward. With that realization, Revolt Artists was born.

King wasn’t expecting to lead the charge for a new showcase.

“I was kind of waiting around for someone to say something and be like, ‘hey let’s have a show’, and no one was … so I decided to make it happen,” King said.

Many local artists responded to the idea. King contacted Club One and was able to secure the spot originally intended for the RAW showcase. The artists were then able to negotiate terms. Terms they considered to be more fair than Raw’s.

“We’re all splitting the venue fee between us, so there’s nobody overcharging us for a spot in their show,” King said. “This is our show.”

Artists are able to set their own prices at their respective booths and there is no commission. Ticket sales from the door will be split among them.  The cost per artist is about $35, says King, but even if they don’t sell any goods or services at the event, they are likely to recover that and more on ticket sales alone.

The Revolt Artists showcase will offer a wide range of artists, from painters to hairstylists, comedians to poets. Several of the artists originally slated for the RAW showcase will be part of the new event.

Peter Fewer, 22, is one of those artists. Fewer, a musician who primarily performs as a solo acoustic act, was contacted by RAW to be part of their event, but wasn’t impressed by the interaction.

They communicated through email, but Fewer says he got the impression it was a disorganized venture.

Peter Fewer is a Mount Pearl based musician. He was approached by RAW to be part of their showcase but will play at the Revolt Artists show instead. Submitted photo.

“They took a couple of days to get back to me and it wasn’t overly professional, to be honest,” Fewer said.

According to Fewer, the organizers didn’t provide much information and asked only what time he wanted to play. Fewer decided not to respond until he did further investigation into the company.

Around this time, Fewer became aware of local artist Evelyn Jess’s social media post criticizing RAW.

Fewer decided to pull out before the event was cancelled.

“I definitely had my mind made up [not to participate] because of all the things that were being said about it,” said Fewer. “That’s not really something I want to be a part of.”

Fewer saw a social media post by King calling for artists to be a part of the Revolt showcase. The post stated that any artist previously scheduled to appear in RAW’s showcase was welcome to a spot in Revolt.

Eager to accept a spot, Fewer contacted King.

“I’m really excited,” said Fewer. “I’m posting about it everyday on Facebook since I was able to get in on it. It really is an amazing thing,”

“Everyone is on board and really working together, it’s really professional but also so open and friendly.” 

Fewer says his experience in dealing with the organizers of each event was like night and day.

“It has been so much better. Unbelievably better,” Fewer said.

Fewer credits King for being very responsive to his inquiries and arranging everything on such short notice.

“Everyone is on board and really working together,” Fewer said. “It’s really professional but also so open and friendly.”

By the time of publication, RAW: natural born artists did not respond to an emailed inquiry as to why the event was cancelled.

Kicker has also yet to receive a request for comment from RAW: natural born artists on the criticisms from local artists made several weeks ago.

The Revolt Artists showcase is scheduled to take place Nov. 29 at Club One in downtown St. John’s. Doors open for the all-age showcase at 7 p.m. with a 19-plus show starting at 8:30 p.m. with an after party to follow.

Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door.

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