When Edinburgh-based artist Tim Vincent-Smith and producer Matthew Wright started to piece together the foundations for Pianodrome, a playable 100-seater amphitheatre built entirely from 50 disused pianos, it became clear that today’s throw away culture is reaching new levels. Eager to transform this would-be-waste into community-treasure, the endeavour was pursued in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to showcase music’s unique ability to promote togetherness on every level.
Taking the concept of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and turning it on its head to produce something for the community that is simultaneously entertaining and good for the environment, this radical re-imagining of what the piano is stands as a testament to where ideas can take us.
As the idea started to take shape and with the pianos doomed for a bleak ending intercepted, the duo set about the big task of onboarding support to help pay for materials, specialist advice and individuals to help plan and build the project and ultimately bring it to life in the heart of Edinburgh.
Matt Wright, one half of the pair behind the initiative, said, “We were excited by the concept of crowdfunding because it meant that funding decisions could be made by the very people who will benefit from our project – we thought that if people would be prepared to part with their own money to make such a wild idea possible then that would be an excellent reason to do it. Ultimately, the Crowdfunder campaign did more than just raise money – it also helped us to engage a wide reaching community of supporters who have helped to spread the word and give us the positive encouragement we needed to make the project happen.”
The project clearly sparked the imagination of Scotland as it went on to raise an incredible £11,500 from 209 supporters in just 32 days, releasing a cascade of creativity for their multi-functioning structure that would soon become the interactive sculpture, acoustic concert venue and workshop space they had dreamed of. But how did they turn their great idea into a successful Crowdfunder.co.uk project?
Matt added, “We had some great advice and support from Crowdfunder Coach, Bertie Herrtage, who talked us through the process on the phone and gave us some great ideas which we ended up using in the campaign. The online resources were really helpful too. We were really blown away by how many people we didn’t know found out about the campaign and pledged their support. We are still tapping in to this network of over 200 people who were inspired by the project, many of whom came along to the Pianodrome when we opened up for Edinburgh Fringe 2018.”
The key to success came also from a range of community-driven rewards on the #PIANODROME Crowdfunder project page, ranging from mixtapes and tickets through to piano makeovers and key signings. With something for everyone accompanied by an irresistible idea, it was hard to not get involved.
Crowdfunding Coach, Bertie Herrtage, said, “Pianodrome were a pleasure to work with. The thought that these beautiful instruments are going to the scrap heap really helped me to see the value in their campaign. Tim and Matt’s artistic and musical backgrounds gave them a unique and creative approach to building their project page and shooting a great video. With the Edinburgh Fringe Festival fast approaching, this was a well timed and placed campaign to benefit from the build up, whetting Scotland’s appetite for a fresh, new and exciting venue.”
Since their crowdfund finished, Pianodrome has become the musical instrument and performance place they had hoped it would be; a structure for everyone regardless of age, gender, social status, race or ability.
Matt added, “Over 220 people performed in the Pianodrome throughout our run in August 2018 – for some it was their first time, and for many it was their first time performing in the round. We hosted over sixty shows ranging from music performed by community & health groups, to international jazz pianists, a 50-piece brass band from Northern Norway, poetry, experimental dance and improvisation and interactive performances. Throughout the four week festival we were open for free during the day – 18,000 people visited, most of them from Edinburgh, with thousands tinkling the ivory of our five embedded playable pianos. More than all this though, the Pianodrome has helped to boost the confidence and profile of loads of excellent Edinburgh-based acts who played during our evening shows, Pianodrome Live.”
With the help of your crowd and our team of crowdfunding experts, who are on hand to help you every step of the way, you too can make your mark on your local community in Scotland. Get started today by checking out our extensive online resources to get you off to the best possible start.
And Matt’s golden crowdfunding tip for anyone thinking of starting their own project?
“Crowdfunding is relentless, but there’s no other way. Make sure you get a good team together to run the campaign and don’t be afraid to ask anyone and everyone to pitch in.
What are you waiting for? Join our crowd and let’s turn your great idea into reality, together.