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The "Get Mad at Local Acts/Venues" Thread

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by GearHeadBassMan, Jan 21, 2009.


  1. I'm sure this will result in some flaming, but after the last weekend tour, I'm pissed.

    The two venues we played at booked a few local bands to get people through the door. Unfortunately, unlike most venues, they didn't require any of the local bands to presell any tickets.

    As a result, we got a no turnout (literally 4 people) and a low turnout (about 20 people in a venue meant for ~250)

    Now, remember, this is small time tour stuff, all ages venues, not bar dates, these venues DEPEND on people through the door to see the bands play.

    Every time we're a local act we're usually required to sell anywhere from 10-50 tickets or we dont get paid to play, but I don't get why so many all ages venues dont require the same thing!

    it gets people in the door, who can buy concessions at the venue, and for a band like mine that depends more on merch sales than venues paying us (we've been screwed over enough that we never expect to actually be paid at these small places) we need people to actually be at the shows!

    It makes me want to only book shows with a guarantee, but i know at this stage (we're on a rep building tour with a bunch of local venues) that our name can't be trusted to bring people through the door yet.

    why don't more venues require presales when all the successful ones do? is it that hard to figure out why its a good idea from every angle?

    /rant.

    p.s. i know what its like being a small local act and having trouble selling presale, but i still did it!
     
  2. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Don't presells usually equate to "pay to play?" There was an article in a local paper that recommended AGAINST this. Said the onus isn't just on the bands to bring a crowd, the venue should be actively promoting as well.
     
  3. the venues i've presold have a similiar policy, that once you're on the show, you're on the show, payscale depending on how many tickets you sell or how many people come to the door to see you (they usually keep a list, tell people to check which band they came for)

    the only pay-to-play situation is if you have tickets missing with no cash, like, you're given 20 tickets, sell 10, but only have money for 9, that last ticket is coming out of your pocket.

    there are still some pay to play situations, but we dont do those shows.
     
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Shouldn't these venues be relying on YOUR band to bring in the customers? If not, then what's the purpose of booking your band in the first place?
     
  5. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Ok, so they give you a bunch of tickets and tell you to hit the streets, effectively making the bands the venue's street crew.

    Sounds bassackwards to me, but hey. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like lately (especially in this area), venues and promoters do jack when it comes to promoting events, and put the onus entirely on the bands. Sure bands should promote, but the venues and promotion companies should get off their asses and do the same, no?
     
  6. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Minnesota
    +1


    Also whats the difference between a weekend gig and a weekend tour:eyebrow:
     
  7. gdawg27

    gdawg27

    Jan 12, 2006
    +1

    I don't get it. Why would they book your band if you had no type of draw? The ticket presale makes no sense to me. Why would you want to pay to play somewhere?
     
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    How many beers you have in the van on the way to the gig????
     
  9. we arent being booked as headliners, we arent that popular yet because we've only just started playing. we call it a weekend tour because its been going from january to march, every friday and saturday (because we have work/school) and we book the shows within about 50-100 miles of each other and stay on the road friday night.

    yes, i definetly agree that venues need to do more promoting, and the no turnout show is definetly an example of that, where the venue did no kind of advertising at all. the best shows we've played are ones behind a strong production company, who take ads in papers and all that, book strong acts, and give bands presale tickets and encourage them (by means of increasing payscale) to sell them. with those shows, even if you sell no tickets at all, you still play, you just turn in all the tickets you didn't sell and you don't get paid.

    at these small time shows (we're talking barely a stage, not in a theater environment) bands like mine that travel 100 miles or so can't exactly bring a built-in crowd like we can at more local venues, these small community shows definetly put the onus on the local acts to promote and get people to come. but then those local bands don't do ANYTHING constructive to get the word out. at the very least make some flyers!

    and we're at the level where we'd play local support for big touring acts, but without label support (yet), we don't have much "Swagger" (yet). we can only do so much to attract people to the shows, and we do everything we can!
     
  10. +1

    Exactly. One such venue around here even runs some newspaper space for the show. The venue should do it's part, too.
     
  11. wow, that's commitment to ones music! When one chooses this path this is what you have to deal with.
     
  12. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    It's been a while since I did the original scene, but when I did, we never expected anyone to do anything on our behalf. If we were playing a new area, we would get there around noon and do an acoustic set at a local college, hand out CD's and flyers, etc. and get people out that night. Or we would organize bus trips with our local 'fanbase.' We'd rent a bus, stock it with drinks and head off to a new area with a busload of people. Sometimes, if it was feasible, we would go to the new area the weekend before our gig and hand out CD's. (Not just flyers.) We've done live radio gigs, live internet streaming. We'd gig swap with other bands, with the understanding that it was on us to provide their crowd, bed and breakfast---and vice versa. We've mailed out CD's to be put out on the bars for a week before we got there.

    I don't want to sound rude, but what did YOU do to promote these shows? Taking out ads in a paper is just static info. Is anyone going to see it, remember the website, check out you music, dig it, remember the date, venue and time that you're playing, and go?
     
  13. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I'm not sure what you mean by "presales" - are you suggesting that a band would have to sell a certain number of tickets before the venue would book them for the gig? That would be a complete non-starter on a number of levels for me.

    Here's the only advice I could give you, based on my experience - talk to the club management in advance about whom they intend to pair you with, and ask about those bands' draw history at that club. If you don't like the answers you get, reconsider that date.

    Better yet, do some research on the local bands in the markets your tour will be visiting, and contact the ones you like to see if they would like to share a date with you. Take that pairing to the venue management, and co-promote it in advance. It's more work for you, but the results will be better every time.
     
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Hmm...I have a few thoughts here:

    • Playing gigs on consecutive weekends does not constitute a "tour." Some people get onery when some musicians use that term incorrectly.
    • If you have zero following willing to show up at a gig, then you really don't have the right to complain when the "local" band doesn't either. It's a rare occurance that the opening acts draw more than the "headliner."
    • This is the digital age. You don't need to be local to promote a gig. Craigslist, myspace, or an ad in the local entertainment paper can all be done over the computer.
    • Think about some good old fashion advertising. Since it seems you are a teen band, contact the local high school and ask if you can buy ad space in the school newspaper. Invite a "reporter" for free if he will talk up the gig. Go to the venue town a week in advance and put fliers in places that teens will congregate (Guitar Center, skate parks, music stores, coffee houses.)
     
  15. threshar

    threshar

    Jul 30, 2002
    I hate all those promo/festival scams..
    "Play our giant festival! There will be billions of people!! weheee! We'll do massive advertising* blahblahblah. Just sell 1300 tickets upfront and you're in"
    * Advertising will be done by our awesome email list.

    We're trying to get a booking agent for my band.. and running into chicken/egg syndrome. The couple people we've talked to so far will only take us on if we have a steady gig stream. Uhh.. dude. thats why we want to hire you? All of us work fulltime jobs and have families. we don't have time to harass the talent buyer at clubs. If we had a steady gig stream we wouldn't need you!!

    aahh well.
     
  16. lenlen

    lenlen

    May 31, 2008
    Usa
    With all due respect, welcome to being a touring band. I've done loads of tours, many with major label bands. This kind of thing happens all of the time. You can not depend on locals and a venue to bring in the crowds. Most venues don't promote worth a crap, and local bands are in most cases not all that well known. When I first started out, I did a few sell ticket shows, and to be honest it is bunk. If the band at the top of the bill can't bring a crowd, it is not the locals fault. And besides you don't want a crowd that is only there for the local bands.
     
  17. Clank

    Clank

    Jan 7, 2008
    Huntington Beach
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Strings
    That made my head hurt.
    I'd thought I'd answer all you points but I decided to just go with two.
    1. All successful venues have pre-sale (read pay to play). No. I can't think of one that does.

    2. It's not nor has ever been a good idea.

    You seem to think that just by playing these places you will get a rep. Your rep comes from knocking dead the 4 people who did wander into your gig. If you can do that, they'll be back and bring their pals with them. you need to be the best band night after night after night. That's how you're going to get what you covet, gigs with national acts.
     
  18. Pay to Play is 99% of the time NOT worth the time/effort. If you're going to sell tickets to your friends to come see you play you might as well charge at the door of a party and put that cash in YOUR pocket. At least you'd have a better chance of unknowns seeing you for the first time.

    It's hard to do but once my band stopped doing the pay to plays we've grown our fanbase, met cooler club owners(what?!), starting playing with bands that are more in sync with our style, and just generally had more fun.

    My end point being probably the same as everyone else; there are many more productive routes of playing and getting your music out there.
     
  19. no no no, i guess my definition of presale is different from the common one.

    step one: you get booked for the gig
    step two: the venue gives you an envelope with around 25 tickets with a signed agreement saying that the venue has given you this much cash value in tickets for sale ahead of time, and requires that all presold tickets and unsold tickets be returned to them during load-in

    step three: how much money you make the venue before the doors open contributes to boosting how much the venue pays you for the gig.

    pay to play is b.s., clearly, what im describing is an agreement that you try to sell a few tickets before the show if you can, if not, whatever, you'll get what you and the promoter agreed on getting paid and you give all the tickets back.

    and for promotion, we aggressively myspace/facebook people in the area about two weeks before a gig, talk to them, try and get them to come out to the show as best we can! (discounts on merch, free cds, stuff like that)

    maybe we should turn this from a local band flame to a venue flame? bands against lazy venues sounds a bit more appealing.
     
  20. 1 and 2. see above, we have different definitions

    and yes, we do our best to bring it as much as possible every time we play. alot of the people who come to our shows for us are people we didn't know until they saw us play.

    the low turnout was actually a really fun show, no stage, i had my wireless and i was running circles around the crowd and having a good time.

    and since we encourage positive messages in our music, we also don't have a problem charming venue owners, who see us (at least, from what we've heard) as a hard working, professional minded band that can be depended on to give a good show with good music.

    it's just hard to get excited about a gig for 4 people sitting 20 feet away looking bored when you've only had 2 hours of sleep and 3 hours of driving behind you!
     

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