I shake my head as I’m wading through the absurdity of Facebook’s new event rules. How the hell are they selling this concept? For 40 bucks I can expose my event to 200 people that I can’t even invite as I’m limited to 50 invites per event. My gig poster has too much text on it and may be disqualified. Isn’t the point of the most basic show poster to have information on it? My news feed is inundated with threats of sample shows I’ve posted, that you’ll only see if you level up to a sponsored post. The math on 10 shows a month gets ugly. I would rather put more posters on the street for that money than expose it to random Facebookers that could give two shits about punk or metal or would just be cyber-attending anyway.
Promoters are desperate to get people out to shows these days. From Johnny Matter’s carnival barkering of the four food groups of the apocalypse to Seamus Mcthirteen’s love affair with hash tags. The concept of booking between 10-20 bands on a night and dubbing it a ‘Fest’ is still rolling. At least with 10 bands you already have up to 50 people at your event. Double that with a standard one per band member guest list and you’re at 100. Yet, there isn’t any revenue yet to offset the cost of production, except for booze sales which generally go to the venue. If you have these hundred people, chances are more of the general population will show if it seems the least bit exciting. It becomes a show about the herd rather than the performers.
Humans are always looking for an angle on their ‘see and be seen’ craving or are on the prowl for sexual conquest, even though sexuality based advertising is considered taboo now for our more ‘enlightened’ subculture. The mainstreamers have no problem with the scantily clad vixen image they utilize to sell everything from pop-stars and movies to video games.
We’re reaching here folks. We’re trying anything. I’m still going with the old school city postering and Georgia Straight ad. Add in a Beatroute ad, plus the social media stuff, a weekly mailer, gig listing websites, and a reasonable amount of posts about shows. That’s more promotion than most venues. So that isn’t the issue. Times have changed. It seems more millenials are interested in meat market dance parties or hipster schlock.
Summer was also jam packed with every festival genre you could think of. Every weekend had multiple out of town camping style destinations. It sure seemed like the city was empty at certain points. Hopefully, now that autumn draws near and everyone gets back to business, the show circuit perks up. Reports from across the continent indicate the same dilemma. Is the desire to see new, or killer local underground bands vanishing?
I realize a lot of times these are unknown bands. Every band has to start somewhere. How many can say they saw a band in the beginning. I understand, especially in Vancouver, where show goers are paying half their income just for a dwelling that shit is tight as fuck. Drinking at a bar is pricey even if you’re one of the cheaper booze establishments. We’ll never be the liquor store or have the summer appeal of a simple backyard BBQ or beach excursion with friends. I get that. Maybe I could pop a camera on the bands and cyber-transmit the shows pay per view style since everyone is obsessed with shitty phone footage and absorbed with their tech devices.
I met a dude last night who was bubbling with excitement that he wants to become a promoter. He stated he didn’t care about making money. He’s got that part right. Most of us are treading water. I smiled and told him I appreciated his enthusiasm and to let me know when he was wading into these precarious waters. Bring your life jacket and a day job.