- Set-up their bills
- Apply the right ‘formula’ for the line-up
- Cope with band work ethics
- Work out the last details after the show
– Setting up the bill for a gig –
After calculating total expenses, and revenue possibilities, we start setting up the bill
Since we are putting out money for this show, sometimes out of our own pockets, we obviously want to make this money back (and hopefully some extra cash as well). We then discuss what bands fit the genre style for this date and who can bring the maximum number of fans or “heads” through the door. Since we are one of the biggest promoters of unsigned/underground bands, we also look at what bands have the least number of fans but also who can put on a quality show and is willing to work for it. For these bands we mix them into a big show so they can get exposed in an effort to assist them and gain new fans. This approach has allowed some of the garage bands with no fans to become mega stars here in California. We then ask the bands if they are available and interested in this opportunity. We always make it clear to the bands that they have to “work” for the show and that it’s not going to be served to them on a silver platter. An issue I have found with most younger or inexperienced bands.
– Applying the right ‘formula’ for the line-up –
Once we have the bands confirmed, we then work on “the formula” for the show.
- What time will we start?
- What are the set times?
- What is the breakdown time?
- Setup time?
- Sound check time?
- Who opens, who plays 2nd, 3rd, 4th or closes?
Here in California, when a band closes, that means they headline. Bands, if you are headlining a show, it’s your night to shine! It’s your show so get out there and hustle! The more work and effort you put into pushing “your” show, the better “your” show will be. Don’t count on the venue, promoter or other bands to give you fans. That’s your job!!! And another thing, don’t bitch, complain or talk smack if you have to open or you don’t like your spot. Be thankful and lucky you are even playing! For you crybaby bands who whine and complain about your spot, guess what? You’ll probably never be booked by this promoter or even booked at this venue again.
I will now get off my soapbox and back to the formula.
For example you may have 3 rock bands. Even though the genre/style can be classified under 1 category, there are variations of the style. We usually tend to start with the lighter or less heavy band first. The 2nd band will have a little more heaviness to its music or something different to bring. Then finally we have the hardest, heaviest band perform last. What you have is a gradual incline or increase in rock or heaviness. If you could see a graph, the line would start low, then steadily increase upwards to the right. Sometimes we even try the opposite or mix it with a bell shaped curve (the lighter bands in first and last position with the heaviest bands in the middle). My personal preference is the first one mentioned. We will do the same with alternative or hip-hop type music as well. There is always a formula to our shows and this approach has proven successful.
– An introduction to band work ethics –
Bands have to work? What did he say? That’s right kiddies, time to put the video game joystick down and get to cracking!!! This means, “pushing” your show. Tell your family and friends, tell people you work with, use the internet to email or myspace. When the promoter calls you and says OK and the fliers are ready to be picked up, pick them up, and get them out there! Don’t just leave them on cars in a parking lot – get out there and hustle. Go to the nearest sound gear shop and talk to people, introduce yourself, invite them out to your show and put a flier in their hand. Quality contacts are much more effective than the shotgun approach. Remember it’s your show.
If tickets must be sold, then sell them. You’re not the sales type person? Sorry, not an excuse. Someone in your band is – you have to learn from them. Do everything and anything you can to get the word out on the streets. Remember, not only will the promoter and venue see which bands bust their ass off, the other bands will see that as well. If you’re trying to network and work alongside other bands, what makes you think they want to share a show with you in the future if you didn’t bring anybody? Although I can go on for days on these issues, I”ll save them for another topic I’ll entitle “A Band’s Code of Ethics.” A must read for all bands.
During the show we like to meet with all the bands to give them the run down of the schedule, start/stop times and also any special announcements we need them to plug in while on stage. We also help load and unload your equipment on stage in order to meet our schedule. When your on a D4D show, you will be guaranteed that the production will be on time, +/- 5 minutes.
– Working it out after the gig –
After the show is over, we then work with the venue to help clean up, discuss “numbers” towards the end of the night. We look at total revenue made and see how well we did or didn’t do compared to our expenses. Based upon how hard the bands worked in bringing heads through the door will help determine if they receive any cash at the end. It’s also possible the bands may not receive any payout. However if you look at all of the marketing and advertising including radio commercials etc, what you do walk away with is exposure and hopefully new fans. After this is said and done, we then move on to our next show, next venue.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always run as smooth. There are issues we run into from time to time such as venues canceling dates on us or bands canceling on the day of the show, even after getting them 1 – 2 weeks worth of airplay on the radio and their bands name is printed all over town… We always try to minimize our risks and keep the drama to a minimum, next to none.
For those bands who actually took the time to read this, considering you didn’t already know all of this, I hope you have a better insight and understanding of the other side. Working together with the promoter can have desirable results for you and your band.
Thanks again Rob!