What a strange, strange year.
I normally start on these “year in review” posts back in October, but I just haven’t been able to put my mind to it. I set out in January to see more live performances than I did in 2019 (339!) and as well as photographing gigs, I was going to start reviewing them again. I’d planned out about 4 months worth of content revolving around festivals to try and be more organised this year. However, this obviously didn’t happen and the content calendar also went down the drain. I’m super grateful that I was able to get to see 58 performances over the first 3 months of 2020 and some brilliant ones at that though!
But although it crossed my mind, giving up the blog wasn’t an option, even without live music. Instead I spent the year trying to focus on what we still have outside of gigs regarding the Portsmouth music scene and the surrounding areas to try and pull some positives out of the mess. 2020 has seen some amazing releases from local artists and if we can remember 2020 for anything positive, it will be that. Despite all the bad parts of 2020, there have been some good things happen locally regarding music and you can read more about that here.
In July I restructured parts of the blog and ended up in a few battles with Russian search engine spider bots overloading the site on a few occasions! That was a huge learning curve, but everything looks better for it, to me anyway. I was even working on an app for the blog at one point, just for fun, but that’s been put on the back burner and whether it will surface eventually, I don’t know.
I’m not going to lie, the last few months have been tough for me personally, but I want to keep this post as positive as possible. When lockdown hit, I inadvertently started working on my mental health and by around July I was actually feeling the happiest I had in a long time. I’m going to half put it down to eating healthier as well. My mother got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in May and I’d pretty much halved the carbs I was eating in response…
As some of you know, my mother unexpectedly passed away (non Covid-related) at the end of October at just 62 despite health checks coming back clear other than diabetes. It was a huge shock (still is) and thank you to everyone who has been there for me over this time as I’m terrible at reaching out to people.
I know a few of you might’ve met my mum at gigs though, she was a big supporter of local music and I’d drag her along to local gigs when she could make it. If she wasn’t at gigs, she’d always saw my photos before I’d put them online. I don’t know who I’m going to get to critique them now!
I’d go as far as saying that she’d seen The Dusty Trims live more than anyone else (she worked in the music department at the college they formed at) and always raved about how much potential they had. I didn’t have the heart to tell her they’d split up in the end… I also always gave my mum my plus one for Victorious Festival and she’d always tell me what local bands she’d randomly found. The last local gig she went to was when Sad Palace headlined the church in Gosport last December and I remember the first thing she said afterwards was “their songs should be in the charts”!
She always saw positives in even the worst of bands as she appreciated that people had the courage to get up on stage and perform in the first place.
Despite all the darkness that still surrounds us, I have a lot of hope that 2021 will be a good year.
What’s in store for Mix It All Up in 2021? It’s hard to tell, but we’ll continue to get bigger and better for sure. We turn 5 (where did the time go!?) on 19th January and I always said I’d put on a gig or something to celebrate, but that’s going to have to wait for another year. Hopefully we’ll actually get to more gigs in 2021 than we did this year, I’ve got a new camera to test! In the mean time, there’s more bands to discover via the internet…
I’m working on redesigning the blog at some point in 2021 alongside a load of other stuff… Personally, I’ve been working on another blog that should surface soon, it’s not music related though. Across 2021 I’m hoping to do more crochet (good hat patterns anybody?), read 50 books because I’ve read shamefully little since I left college (recommendations welcome!) and also get back into design of some sort because uni killed my creativity. Once lockdowns are lifted, I’m hoping to get back into doing more portrait photography because I said I’d do that this year, and that didn’t happen.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you who’s read even just one post, those who have read lots of posts, found new bands via the blog, shared our stuff, said nice things, liked our social media posts, generally just been there, put up with my ramblings about local music and everything else. I’d list everyone but there’s so many people to thank that I’ll miss someone, but you all know who you are! There are far too many lovely people out there and I don’t deserve any of you.
Anyway, we’ll be back even bigger and better in 2021! We’ve hit a load of milestones this year and I’m grateful for all the opportunities we’ve had this year despite everything. Hopefully I’ll finally see some of you again at gigs in the near-ish future as well!
I tried to work on being more concise this year, but it hasn’t worked out at all. Maybe next year, haha!
Happy New Year x
Mix It All Up in numbers – 2020:
38 live performances seen across 13 gigs and 1 festival with Web being my most seen band across 2020 (3 gigs).
92,000 words written across 564 blog posts
7146 photos taken at gigs (from January to March)