A new automated music listings site powered by Facebook data has underscored how, despite only having a population of 90,000, Hastings aspires to the title of a ‘music city’.
Coupled with neighbouring Rother, the area is home to fewer people than the average London borough.
But that doesn’t stop hastingsflyer.com comprehensively listing events hosted by nearly 80 venues, promoters and festivals – with more being added almost daily.
As a recent Music Venues Trust report highlighted, Hastings and the surrounding area combined have the largest number of live music venues per capita of anywhere in the region.
Twice-a-day the Hastings Flyer neatly captures the scores of gigs that happen in the area every week. This is done using some clever Internet wizardry which means every new event posted to Facebook in the area gets rapidly scooped up and published on the site.
The Flyer’s creator, John Bownas, said: “We moved down here just over a year ago and it was clear there was a huge amount going on – but nobody had the time to capture and publish all these gigs every week. What I realised quickly though is how virtually every venue and promoter posts new events on Facebook before doing any other marketing. So I did some research and found a few website tricks that let me automate the process of harvesting that data and publishing it in a really simple way. That leaves me free to spend time writing more detailed previews and reviews of the more interesting shows.”
The Flyer is a labour of love and almost completely non-commercial except for making about the price of a pint each week from Google adverts hosted on the site.
It’s also easily replicable in any town or city that wants an elegant solution to the perennial problem of maintain an up-to-date events guide.
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