A rant was directed towards promoters for a lack of turnout, blamed on not having presale tickets prepared for bands to hustle. In my experience, unless it’s a bigger show with a popular touring act, or you’re a promoter taking on one show at a time, this is just cost prohibitive, organization wise. As someone who books 25+ local bands a month, I can’t imagine chasing around dozens of band members to hustle tickets if I cant even get them to share a Facebook event or invite people to it. In the olden days, I could use the example of getting band members to pick up the gobs of handbills I used to print. The lack of hustle for some has always been real, regardless of the tools of the era that were produced.
Then there’s the plea for band participation from people trying to throw shows. The line was “imagine being a cheerleader on a desert island”. Brilliant. That was coined by local promoter Johnny Matter. That is our experience these days. We do our best. The carnival barker is alive and well, and generally we are left yammering on about a show alone.
It was amazing reading all these comments, pros and cons. People commiserating. We can talk about living in an expensive rental city. How the millenials with entertainment appetites are leaving town. How if you’ve been in a band for over a decade that previously enjoyed bustling shows, that set of fans are now nesting, changing nappies and watching sesame street with toddlers. The generation gap is real. It’s a sad state of affairs when the new generation of potential fans for live music are more interested in cooing about moustache wax at any generic craft beer joint than seeing a live band. Capturing Pokemon, splattered the trendy list, killed a couple people, and died a quick death. How about a dance party reliving when you were in diapers? It seems that a generation raised on technology need to be gripping their devices at all times. If there was a way to consistently offer live music through a phone screen, we might have a chance at survival.
I have no answers. I tried the sponsored Facebook event. I might as well have just lit a 50 dollar bill with a Bic. I tried it with 3 events. The event that had the most ‘engagements’ did the worst at the venues ticket wicket. The threat of venues giving up on live music is real. In Vancouver, there are too many rooms and promoters, all with their fingers in the same pie. There are only so many moneyed live music aficionados to go around.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with this subject. I’ve been making commentary on it for a while now. Yet, every time my column deadline rolls around, there this subject is, marked in the hallowed annuls of the Facebook newsfeed.
So hang in there. That’s about all I can say to both bands or promoters. Try to work together. Some of us may die in battle and others will be quick to take up arms in the perceived glory of being a renowned band or promoter. You need the constitution to fight through the dark times. There are many, especially financially. The dance booking bands isn’t easy. Prepare for disappointment. Prepare for excitement, then a let down if they cancel. No show is ever set in stone. Expect setbacks, like the drummer that severs his finger at his day job, or the tour van broke down.
People that are drinking also have irrational reactions to the rules of a law abiding venue that contradict the rules of their living room parties. They will hold a grudge against a venue if they were tossed out or denied entry. It may morph into keyboard warrior internet trolls and gossip mongers smearing your reputation. The bullshit is real.
Until the virtual venue rules the world, we are here. Try to enjoy!