Happydaysfest – Student gigs not to miss

Happydaysfest is a mini festival that takes place in the Grand Social, near Ha’penny Bridge, and artists from all around Dublin get the chance to perform.  

happydaysfest gig, Photo courtesy of: Redzer

This festival is organised by two talented individuals, Allie Ryan and Maja Ertzbischoff, who study at BIMM music college in Dublin. 

It all began last March, where they held their first ever event. They have now successfully run seven events. The biggest Happydaysfest yet is at the Grand Social on Saturday, March 30th, to celebrate one-year anniversary of the first gig. 

Organising these types of events is more difficult than you’d think.

“It takes a lot more work than people realise, I think. It all starts by deciding the vibe we want for the night, specifically the genre of music that suits the theme. After that, Allie and I make a ‘shortlist’ of acts we think would suit and we get emailing,” said Ertzbischoff. 

The work continues with many meetings, promotion of the shows, writing press releases, budgeting, sending contracts and creating an atmosphere in terms the of designs of the stage and the overall theme. 

Their goal is to create a safe and supportive environment for their acts, along with expanding these acts audiences, they have taken a unique approach to achieve this.

“Allie and I wanted to create an event with multiple bands playing, giving every band the same energy and opportunity to play to a new audience, not focusing solely on ‘the headliner’ – that’s how the secret running order came to be.” 

It is safe to say that they have achieved this goal already. Robyn Twyford Troy, drummer/songwriter of the band The washing machines, says the latest happydaysfest ‘Galantines’ gig “got us in front of a crowd who wouldn’t have previously known who we were and allowed us to work with other artists who we didn’t know previously.”  

Troy adds: “The night itself was very well put together. The attention to detail with lights, sound and decor was amazing, and Allie was there all night making sure everything ran smoothly. The lights and sound in particular that night was honestly the best I’ve seen at the Grand Social.” 

‘Thewashingmachines’ performing at galantines gig, Photo: Redzer

This festival is currently a self-funded organisation, where they make most of their funds through ticket sales and merch sales. However, one of their near future goals is to gain sponsorship to progress and transform happydaysfest to a new level. 

The music gig is known to be tough and when asked what challenges these two have faced during all this they both brought up problems they have faced as women in this industry.

“Being a woman in this industry is tough, I think Allie will definitely agree with this. We’ve been disrespected countless times and it’s instances where you wonder if they’d have treated you this way if you were a man,” said Ertzbischoff.  

Ryan added, “We have a wonderful team at Happy Days, and I couldn’t fault our experiences. Our biggest challenge has been proving ourselves and ensuring we are respected and that all our acts are, regardless of gender or identity.” 

The competition of the industry is also quite fierce as you can imagine with Dublin being a hotspot for artists paired with the wide variety of gig venues the city has to offer. “There’s so many great venues and so many great acts that the competition is always at an all-time high. It’s really tough to have an event on the same night as an even bigger show in the Button Factory or Vicar Street that might have a similar audience as your own acts,” said Ertzbischoff. 

‘Digdeep’ playing at happydaysfest gig photo courtesy of redzer

In saying all this the pair believe that it is all worth it “It’s great to see the connections people make at the gigs, networking, and friendships, “said Ryan.  

“For me, I think it’s to see collaborations flourish from the shows. For example, seeing two artists that didn’t know about each other before playing a HDF together, then planning a show together,” added Ertzbischoff. 

The pair are constantly working on new line-ups and themes in order to grow their potential. You can sign up to be considered through their application in their Instagram bio at Happy.daysfest

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