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Be Inspired by the Best Drummers in the World.

By Jess, published on 22/04/2019 Blog > Music > Drums > Seeing Drummers Live Will Change the Way You Play.

Every year there are millions of large and small music concerts where you can listen to live bands, the best drum music and see musicians on stage performing. If you are a performer, drummer, jazz music lover or improvisational lover of a percussionist instrument, there is a gig for you where you can be inspired, amazed, and surrounded by other like-minded people.

In this article, we will look at different events – gigs, festivals, conventions – that are dedicated to drums from around the world, where bands will excite you and allow you to discover the drums in a way that you have never seen! Can we have a drum roll, please!

Go to small music festivals Listen to live bands and see musicians on stage performing. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Benefit of Seeing Drums Live.

You might ask why we’re so concerned with getting you to see live shows. But the answers to this, really, make complete sense. Because the benefits of seeing live music are legion – and, if you are a musician yourself, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it.

So, what are the some of the benefits of going to see music in concert.

  • It could actually increase your life expectancy. A study by the group of music venues, O2, found that going to gigs increases your feelings of well-being. This is understandable. However, well-being correlates with long life – and the researchers suggest that going to a gig a fortnight can lengthen your life by up to ten years. Tell that to your mum the next time she complains that you were back late from a gig.
  • Decreases stress. Listening to music has already been linked to a reduction in stress. Yet, researchers found that the act of going to a gig reduces your heart rate, your breathing rate, and your blood pressure. Playing an instrument is a pretty good stress relief too. There’s science behind the fact that jazz musicians and other musical people are just generally cooler and more relaxed.
  • A sense of community. Playing music in your bedroom and smashing on that electronic drum kit with your headphones in your ears is one thing. But going to gigs gets you in the same room as people who like what you like, people who are interested in music too.  There’s nothing like a chat with a fellow fan to get you feeling good.
  • Musical inspiration. Again, there’s listening alone, and there’s watching a professional musician perform. You could be watching a drum hero do a nifty new combination on his snare, or watch him do a bass drum groove that you can incorporate into your own playing. Honestly, there’s nothing better to get you thinking about your own playing and music making than watching a drum soloist kill it on stage.

Some of the Best Drummers and Bands to Follow.

You’ll know as a drummer that some bands keep their drummers in the background, whilst others let the percussionist go wild and lead the show (you might remember this hilarious drummer, for example).

But the former category can be pretty boring for young drummers who want a bit of inspiration. Because the classic 4/4 two and four beat doesn’t do much to inspire one – just as three chord pop chords don’t provide much excitement for the guitarist.

The thing is that, often, the best drummers come up in the weirdest places (again, the YouTube video above is the perfect example of this). So, who can you check out that is actually worth listening to? Which drummers actually make a name for themselves – across genres and styles?

Steve Smith

Steve Smith is the drummer behind the band, Journey, whose hit ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is one of the most iconic rock songs ever. Yet, Smith’s skills are not necessarily on full display in that track – and there’s next to no chance of actually seeing the band live these days.

However, Smith does still perform with Vital Information, his own band, and Vital Tech Tones – a jazz fusion trio including Scott Henderson and Victor Wooten. You may well see him at drum festivals too!

Danny Carey

Even if you’re not into metal, you should really be attention to someone like Danny Carey. His band, Tool, won three Grammies – for best metal performance (twice) and for best metal album – and his drum work on albums like Lateralus and 10,000 Days is astonishing.

He’s also recorded with lots of other different bands. He’s still performing, but you might have to be patient before he comes back to the UK.

Joey Jordison

You’ll probably know him as the bloke with the spikes coming from his head in the metal band, Slipknot. However, it’s been a while since he has had anything to do with them. Regardless, he might be a little scary for those who like their drums without the side-helping of the weirdness and darkness of metal.

However, Rhythm magazine named him the best drummer in the world – in all genres – back in 2010. So, among the world of drummers, he’s considered something of a hero.

You can see him these days performing with Vimic and Sinsaenum.

Cindy Blackman

If you thought that drumming was a bit of a guy thing, you should never have thought anything so silly. Of course it isn’t. And Cindy Blackman, who has played with Lenny Kravitz, Buckethead, and Joe Henderson, is more proof than you could ever need to show you just how silly you are.

She’s still touring on the jazz circuit, so look out for her gigs.

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Similarly, if you think that classical music is just for elderly people in suit and tie, then you need to think again. If you are serious about music, then you need to be serious about every genre of music – from the rock song to the symphony to the jazz ensemble.

Evelyn Glennie is a legend of the orchestral percussion world, and, to make her talent even more legendary, she’s also deaf. As she says, maybe we misunderstand the way that deafness works, because it doesn’t stop her making incredible music.

She was the drummer at the 2012 Olympic ceremony – and you can see her performing across the UK.

Billy Cobham

This one is a personal inspiration. Billy Cobham is a jazz drummer and composer who is one of the ultimate heroes of percussion. He has played with Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Chaka Khan, but it was a gig with Scott Henderson in La Paz, Bolivia that got me glued to him.

La Paz is a city 3,700 metres above sea level, and visitors there often get altitude sickness when they arrive – something that is exacerbated by physical activity. Cobham was straight off the plane, but he performed like no-one else I’ve ever seen. At the end, he was whisked off stage quickly, because he was feeling dizzy, but the whole of the audience were on their feet.

An absolutely awesome musician.

Top 6 Worldwide Drum Festivals

UK Drum ShowManchester, UK
Bag'Show Drum FestivalParis, France
Drum Festival SwitzerlandVarious locations, but Switzerland
International Festival of Drums and FanfaresLa Baule, France
The London Drum Show, English Drum FestivalLondon, UK (obviously)
The Drums Summit FestivalToulouse, France

The UK Drum Show

The UK drum show dedicated to everything about the drums. Drumming legends attend this event to present you with their skills and answer your questions. This is better than any festival since you actually get to meet the musicians behind the music and ask them questions which can help your own drumming journey.

The show is perfect for beginners who don’t know how to play the drums as well as professional musicians. Beginner drum lessons are popular with visitors, where you can learn how to hold the drumsticks, get an introduction to your drum kit and learn to play a basic drum beats. The free lessons are a great bonus, and the live shows all add up to what promises to be an electrifying two-day event.

Bag’Show Drum Festival In Paris

  • Location: Paris, France
  • When: Annually end of October
  • Price: From €25
  • Website: baguetterie.fr

This show is exciting; set up like a festival and a trade show and workshop for everything that you would ever need to hear, see or feel related to the drums. They have it all, drum sheet music, drumming lessons, your dream drumset, drumming teachers and even tech smart drumming machines. But the best part or the icing on the cake is that they have performers on stage for your viewing pleasure.

The Bag’Show festival is the biggest drummers event in France and drums have been beaten since 1979 in Paris. The artist changes every year but visiting this event, you can take the opportunity to discover or rediscover drummers like Rodney Holmes (Santana), Ash Soan (jazz fusion), Derrick Wright (Adele), Romain Joutard (Frero Delavega, Christophe Mae) or Adam Marcello.

Throughout the day drummers and percussionists demonstrate their gift on the stage. Once you have seen them perform why not discover the new products on the market from big brands like Yamaha, Roland, Gretsch, Ludwig or Tama. Even the acoustic and electronic instruments can be tried for free on the various stands.

This is a great place to go to have some classes to learn how to play drums like a rock star, buy the instruments for your new band, or buy your first drum and have some beginner drum lessons. Why not get an experimental drum so that you will be able to play funk, reggae or jazz with your group. This festival brings together under one roof the Amateur, and professional artists, drummers, specialized journalists and manufacturers, and all music styles are explored, pop music, electronic music, African music and much more.

Beginner drum lessons are popular with visitors, The show is perfect for beginners who don’t know how to play the drums as well as professional musicians. Photo Source: Unsplash

Drum Festival Switzerland

In the 1920s the drums were in the spotlight at the front of the stage, this was the beginning of its modern history. Drums were the cornerstone of jazz music, present from the bebop era, and played the drums at every jazz concert. Gradually, the drum migrated to the back of the stage, but they did not lose its importance in the sound of the music.

As they gained popularity, the drums passed through each style of music. But the drummers deserve much more than a back seat as it is a real talent that many of the musicians demonstrate when they play the drums. The Drum festival strives to show all of the possible kinds of expressiveness of the instrument by inviting talented drummers that are little known in Europe to gain exposure for their craft.

International Festival of Drums and Fanfares

  • Location: La Baule, France
  • Price: Free (Indoor, Private concerts may be charged)

At the beginning of its popularity, the drum bands consisted solely of drummers playing drums and was often used as a military musical instrument to motivate the troops and give rhythm to their march. The aspect of this formation gave rise to the marching bands that we can see so often in parades.

Marching bands, of course, have, In addition to the drums, the brass band which consists of many instruments (trumpet, tuba, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, flute). Many festivals have their fanfare, and sometimes even several, to the delight of young and old.

At this festival, the musicians offer different shows over three days: concerts, parades, outdoor games synced with light animations. The drum is not the only instrument to be honoured, but it is another way to discover it, in a more traditional form.

The London Drum Show, English Drum Festival

This event brings us a weekend in London dedicated to the drums. There are drum masterclasses with musician Jonathan Rodney, Pick Withers or Pete Cater. Which are on a first come first served basis. Throughout the show, advice is provided by professional drummers, on acoustic and electronic drums styles all of which are showcased and all of the equipment you could dream of is for sale including the electronic drum,  many things on sale at preferential prices.

Free drumming classes are offered for all levels where you can learn about drum kits, the drum beat, the drum set, drum patterns and the sticks that you should use. After your free drum lessons, you can see vintage drums on display for your viewing pleasure. In 2018, a tribute to Keith Moon, the famous drummer from The Who, will be rendered by several drummers. drum teacher could offer to keep you updated.

This is a great show where you can watch your idols perform, Learn to play the drums with different kits, trying out different styles and buy the best kit for your own band and musical adventure.

The Drums Summit Festival

  • Location: Toulouse, France
  • When: Annually in March
  • Price: From €5  – €12
  • Website: www.baguetterie.fr

Every year for the past 18 years, the Drums Summit festival has been held in March and offers several dates of jazz concerts, around the drums.

This festival is family friendly and has great to take part in the activities, for adults and children. You can take part in doing a drum solo, learning drum beats, learn how to read sheet music,  take a look at a rock bands drum patterns, through to film-concerts, musical ensemble meetings, free drum lessons, masterclasses and jazz performances.

The famous jazz drummer André Ceccarelli is very often present sharing his jazz drumming, as are other celebrities. The goal of Drums Summit is above all the sharing of culture, regardless of the style of music.

It is very enriching to learn or advance Progress in areas that you had previously misunderstood. Photo Source: Unsplash

Other Events Related To The Drum

The drums are a fairly popular instrument, and several other events are popping up here and there. To offer one-off workshops, online lessons, open seminars, and drumming shows.

  • Drums Addict Festival: The last edition took place in 2010 in Bordeaux, but the association is still active, offering multiple tips to apprentice drummers. Who knows, maybe a new edition will see the light of day soon?
  • Drummers Festival: They have already had 25 sessions for this Belgian festival which offers concerts, musical ensembles and exclusive masterclasses over two days. The last edition took place in 2018 and honoured drummers and musicians Thomas Lang and Virgil Donati,
  • Drum Fest: Every year since 2012, the Drum Fest offers a drumming festival that looks like a fun competition between drummers.
  • Wikidrummers Festival: Since 2016, the festival welcomes international artists and offers a Groove Contest, the groove contest is judged on your drum patterns and skills and is open to all and subject to a jury vote,
  • Yamaha Drum Show: Drum brands occasionally show off with their merchandise. This is the case with Yamaha who regularly does this.

The world of drums is attracting more and more followers, and it is becoming normal to see new events flourish in connection with the percussion instrument.

Each year, it is, therefore, possible to participate in several festivals and events around drummers and drums, whether as a simply curious, amateur wishing to progress or professional looking for inspiration.

So which drum festival tempts you?

Off-the-Wall Percussion Shows that Might Intrigue You.

Well, we’ve covered the music festival circuit, as well as some of the best percussionists in contemporary music. However, we’ve mainly stuck to a fairly conventional drum sound. There are so many different – and equally amazing – drum performers out there that can provide you with the inspiration you need to keep moving forward with your playing.

Here are a few examples.

Stomp

You’ve probably heard of Stomp, the percussionist’s favourite musical. It came out of Brighton in the nineties and has since been performed all over the world.

Yes, it’s a musical, but it’s one with a difference. All of the music is created with found objects, but the rhythms they produce is really a wonder to behold. Think wicked drum work mixed with catchy rhythms and physical theatre.

F.M. Einheit

Drums ain’t all about the snare drum, cymbals, and the hi hat. F.M. Einheit’s career is really testament to this fact – but, as an experimental musician and ‘industrial percussionist’, Einheit’s work doesn’t make easy listening.

I have seen him perform his rhythmic work on sheets of metal, breaking bricks with hammers, and with a hand drill. Not something for everyone, but if you are interested in the very limits of the rhythm section, this is for you.

Rhythms of Resistance

There are plenty of samba street bands around, but one of the best – and one of the most well-known – is Rhythms of Resistance. These guys combine tight percussion work with campaigns for social justice.

The cool thing is that they have thirty different groups around the world, and they regularly attend demonstrations and street parties.

History Of The Drum

The drum, as we all probably know,  is a percussion instrument and must consist of at least 1 membrane covered surface which is known as the drumhead. It is from the drum head that music is made, by striking it with something, typically hands or a drumstick of some kind.

Historically drums were used for ceremonies, music, to communicate messages, to evoke emotions, spiritual or religious and for motivation or respect. The sound of percussion instruments like the drum is highly dependent on how it was made, big or small, wide or thin and this even includes what it is made of. Drums come in many styles, and different drums are suited to different styles of music. They all make very distinctive sounds, you may know of the drumkit, but the bongo, conga and djembe are also types of drum.

Drums are some of the oldest instruments in recorded history, and despite the difference in design of some modern-day drums, they have retained the same construction and functionality over thousands of years.

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