Who's responsible to filling up a venue?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Band / Performer

    30 vote(s)
  2. Venue

    16 vote(s)
  3. Agent / Promoter

    14 vote(s)
  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    So whose job is it to fill up the venue with people?
    The band? The venue? Agent/Promoter?

    I know it's a combination of all three, but all three seem to blame the other, so who's mainly responsible?
  2. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Ultimately I'd say the band. That's what people are there to see after all. I could make a redbull and vodka at home if I really wanted one, but most times I'd rather have one while hearing live music.

    The agent should facilitate getting the info out, but ultimately it's the appeal of the artist.

  3. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    IMHO, that depends on what sort of gig it is. :cool: A lot of gigs I play don't expect or necessarily even want the band to draw any people. I guess you could call those wallpaper gigs, I'm sure you know what I mean. So the venue is clearly responsible in this instance.

    Local clubs here depend heavily on the bands to do promo and have a following. At the very least, we have to be able to hold the room and entice people on the fence to pay the cover, and build word of mouth to ensure return engagements. Typically there is little to no built-in weekend action at these clubs, and in fact lots of weekday regulars avoid nights with live music. I'll only go out and pay cover if a specific band interests me a lot.

    If there's a separate promoter, I expect them to earn their dough. They perceived that your band is a draw, but it then becomes their job to promote you.

    In any case, I think it's bad form to blame anyone but yourselves if you're not drawing.
  4. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    yeah , the band is going to have a local crowd , but it seems
    like the venue and promoter should bear the most responsibility ,

    i've seen too many extremely talented bands in clubs
    with less the 100 people in attendence .
    { frank zappa , dixie dreggs , and the talking heads come
    to mind } none of those shows was promoted very well
    and the crowds were very small ...
  5. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    I think the Majority of the responsibility should fall on the band, unless it's stated otherwise. Ultimatly the point of the gig is to let more people know about your band and the band should have the most vested interest in that.

    With that said...if it's your first time in a market especially one that's not close to your home the venue should take a large responsibility in helping promote, hang posters, pass out flyers, and then expect the band to come down an impress people so they stay and come back the next time.

    Promoters are all good when you have them and should definetly do as much of the leg work as possible.

    When all is said and done, each group has it's motivation and everyone should do their part. If the band wants to play for a packed house, they need to make sure enough people know about it, if the Bar want's to make a ton of $$ from Drinks they need to do their job in getting people there as well and not just rely on the band.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Band, no question, unless there's a contract otherwise. My band gets hired BECAUSE we draw a crowd, The few venues here and there that our following doesn't like going to, and doesn't turn out at, just won't book us anymore after a few failed attempts.

    Of course, situations vary . . .
  7. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    If there aren't enough people filling a club when I play, then I take it upon myself to correct that issue. Now if there is a "promoter" involved who isn't promoting, I refrain from dealing with him in the future. If there is a club that in general can't match me head for head (or at least provide a healthy group of fresh faces) in packing out the place, then I wean that place out of the list of spots I book. Just my view....
  8. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    The band. In my experience, bars/clubs/festivals/whatever only have you there so they can sell more alcohol. If people don't come to see you and stay they don't sell as much alcohol. Simple economics.
  9. Barfly


    Dec 27, 2000
    GTA, Canada
    I guess I am the only one who believes that if the club is in the "Live Music" market, they should be advertising as such and not necessarily relying on the bands to bring in the crowds. That said, they SHOULD hire bands that appeal to THEIR crowd.

    These clubs should have local advertising, marquees, posters, etc and the agents that work with these rooms should be providing the advert material (posters).

    How can a band be booked 2 hours from home and expected to bring a crowd? Sh*t, even a half hour from home?
  10. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    In a perfect world......



    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    If the venue has hired a promoter, then it's their job to....well, PROMOTE. They'll be the ones selecting which bands will perform (primarily based on musical appropriateness and crowd drawing power).

    If it's a local club, then the band show be the ones promoting....besides club owners are more likely to bring you back if you do most of the "heavy-lifting" and help them sell more drinks ;)
  12. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    East Coast
    frankly it depends on the type of club.

    Some have a built-in crowd - they're going to draw, no matter what.

    Some clubs only want bands with big followings (most bands don't).

    Some clubs pay less so they can hardly expect these bands to bring a lot of people. Some of the clubs foolishly believe it anyway.

    Depends on who you are. My last band? We didn't play often enough to really have a following. If that was the expectation, we disabused them of this notion fast.
  13. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Try looking at it from this perspective: who's responsibility is it to get large crowds to a major league baseball game???

    An entity (sometimes with government funding) provides a venue, and another entity (usually with private funding) does the promoting, but ultimately it's up to the team to draw crowds. Here in Tampa we get dismal crowds unless the Yankees or another big draw in in town for a game. That's because the Devil Rays are not very good.

    Whether our entertainment is music or sports, I believe it pretty much works the same way -- it's a collaborative effort that, when all is said and done, depends largely on talent to get people out!

    Tony Noriega, Tampa
  14. I think a lot of venues + promoters in London (especially on the original band circuit) could do a lot more to help bands-

    often when I've checked a venue/promoter's website there's no listing of who's playing that night (let alone any band description)-
    it doesn't take much to put a link to each band that's playing's website, so a prospective punter can check them out before coming down.

    also I'm annoyed by promoters putting on 5 or more bands on a night-
    which means hurried soundchecks, shorter sets, less space to keep equipment, more problems for the bands regarding gear-sharing- (and for a punter it's less satisfying if the band you've come to see has a shorter set)
    just so there are more bands each with a responsibilty to bring a certain number of people.
    and it irks me when if a band pulls out of the night, the promoter ropes in another band to cover at the last minute, when they could easily just let the 4 bands left (or just the headliners) play longer sets.

    it's unfair for the fill-in band as they have hardly any time to get whatever following they have to come down.
  15. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have toured and played for over 25 years. 90% of the "Bar" band stuff should be Band, the venues should always have some sort of AD in the paper or something like that. Bands that try to play out of their element is where you get stellar bands with nobody in the place ie: Punk Rockers should not play at a country bar for the $150...
    The band should supply Posters, Flyers, Promo the daylights out of the area and know the venue. If you go into a 200 Capacity club, you need to make sure 135 dB is acceptable. A band that can vary its style and performance will fare a little better.
    Bands have to approach themselves as a product. Fender could never have made it with advertising. So, would you expect Fender to Promo or the Music Store? :rolleyes:
  16. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    well, it all depends really.

    i'm in a band and every show we play,, we have flyers on our merch table, we always promote the next up coming shows between our songs, we usually(once a month) send out a mailing list, and then there is the email list. along with the barage of message boards that i post our shows on. so i feel we as a band do our part.

    most clubs will give the bare minimum promotion and feel that the band should do the most. i think its bs. i work my tail off to get our shows known and if i get to a venue and not see one bit of info on the show there, i get pissed off...
  17. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    If you want something done right, do it yourself.
  18. SmittyG


    Dec 24, 2003
    Texarkana, Texas
    My band played in a brand new town a little bit ago. We drove over two hours to get there. Five minutes after walking through the door, the manager asked how many folks I brought with me. I said, "Two: my guitar player and my drummer." Less than a minute later, the DJ walks over, introduces himself, and then asked the same question. I answered it the same way.

    After the two of them looked at each other for a stunned moment, the manager explained it wasn't a joke. I said, "Then neither was my answer." I went on to explain, "We played a gig in our home town last night. We are playing another venue in our home town next week. Why would anyone drive two hours just to see us at this club? If I want to play for the same folks in my home town, I will just stay home. I came here so I could play music for folks in your town."

    As most others have stated, it is the talent's job to ensure folks want to see the talent. No other factors come into play. The venue sure as hell isn't going to lift a finger to help. Of course, the problem with the two gentlemen I was talking to is that their limited vision of getting this job done involved busing in an audience. Fortunately, I was able to show them another way to get the job done.
  19. agreed. there has to be some responsibility on the venue to assist in promotion, especially when one of our house shows has a cover charge and another one doesn't.

    it's unrealistic to expect our core supporters to come to EVERY gig we play, so the venue should actively be promoting themselves as a live music venue anyway. IMHO
  20. Interestingly enough, one of the local venues in Columbus just cut back from live music 5 or 6 nights a week to only 2 nights. They are replacing the other nights with "theme nights" that sound pretty lame to me.

    When I read about it in one of the local papers, the venue claimed that it will "make the bands work harder" and that live music is too hit-or-miss, some nights they have 30 people and they can hold 700. They do typically advertise every week with their lineup in the local papers, and so do a lot of oother live music venues. But I think their crowd is more of the 'seen and be seen getting smashed' variety than actual music fans.

    Just thought it was sort of relevant to this topic..