Ok so as some of you may know, we hosted our first Gigdoggy Showcase on Saturday 18th at the Club Lambi in Montreal. I am now going to take the opportunity to do a little recap on the event, how we organized and how it played out.
The context of our Showcase
Before launching our Fanteraction™ platform (which by the way still hasn’t officially launched – we will open it on May first so stay tuned for Friday’s post on the matter), we were working on a gig management platform to help gig-swapping bands coordinate their efforts to set up their shows. This project is on hiatus for now, meaning we have stopped developing it, but you can still set-up an account at www.gigdoggy.com/gigs and use its existing features.
Anyways, the whole idea of the Gigdoggy Showcase originated with this gig-swapping website as we planned to use it to organize the event. It did help a lot as many logistical tasks were discussed and centralized within our showcase profile.
Once we decided to shift our focus on the Fanteraction™ service, we just took advantage of the gig to promote our up-and-coming idea and to deliver a party full of sonic delights.
Finding the bands
Well that wasn’t that hard actually. We found one band through this blog, 2 bands from Montreal via personal acquaintances, and the three other bands through Craigslist. For Craigslist we just posted an add in Montreal saying we were looking for gigs, and in the days to come we had filled our bill.
Finding the Venue
We needed a nice room to rent that could contain more or less 150 to 200 people. We found Club Lambi via one of the bands on the bill, The Angry Parrots that had already played there before. The venue was $350 for the night, for three bands, and $25 for any extra band (sound engineer fees). So basically we were preparing to cash-out $425 just for the room.
Organizing the logistics of the gig
By logistics I’m referring to promotion, pre-sale tickets, handling compensation between bands, setting up the technical rider for the sound-guy, selling merchandise and employing a DJ and some VJs.
As mentioned above, we used our gig management platform to deal with some logistical tasks. Everything that deals with tickets sales and ticket pricing is in our showcase profile (http://www.gigdoggy.com/gigs/paisible-2009-02-04-03-52-07 – click on “12 comments” on the top right side of the “Ticket/Presale” section to expand the conversations).
Well we decided to divide everything evenly between bands at the end of the gig. Not much else to add here.
- We depended a lot on word to mouth to get people attending. We didn’t do the offline flyer routine at all, and I just put up 20 posters near the venue to grab people’s attention, but apart from that, with six bands on the bill we were pretty confident we would have a good turnout.
- We wrote two press releases (one in English and one in French) and sent them out to major media listings. Don’t think it bared much fruit but we did get featured in some concert listings online and offline. You can download the english press release here.
- Thanks to a close friend who had a contact at CBC news, Greg got interviewed in front of the Club Lambi, and the clip was broadcasted on the CBC channel right before the 7pm news. Check out the clip here.
- We made a facebook event just to get the word out, and used it to have an overall idea of who was attending.
- I also wrote a post on the gig on this blog and promoted it via Craigslist.
- We subscribed to a very cool site called ArtistData that automatically updates a band’s gig schedule on all major social networks and calendars.
- Geoff Marshall from the Angry Parrots produced a great video gig flyer for us that we promoted via Facebook ads with a CPM model. We made it run for three days at $20/day (you choose your model and the your threshold price). We got something like 400 000 impressions for a total of 100 click-throughs. Don’t think it’s really worth the money :)
- We also used twitter to get a couple of people to attend.
So all in all, I would say that probably 95% of the people who came were close friends and relatives of the bands that played, and I’m leaving 5% out just to pretend that most of our efforts maybe helped out. The turnout was around 120 people at the peak of the event and felt a little disappointing. Also I would like to add that on that particular night, the frigin’ Montreal Habs were playing and most certainly contributed to a few dozen people not coming. Plus Boston totally owned them that night…
Now this was a tough one. Having six bands on the bill obviously doesn’t help. All of it was done via email and an excel sheet that you can download here. One thing I thought of doing on the day of the gig was printing the tech rider for the sound guy just in case (I had only sent it by e-mial beforehand), so I had to re-arrange the spreadsheet in order for it to be displayed nicely on A4 sized pages. This may seem like a detail, but its an important one. Only 15 minutes before sound-check had I realized that my beautiful color-noted tech rider was dismantled into twice as many A4 sheets ’cause of this printing issue. In Excel you can of course set your borders as you wish for printing, but for the sake of the sound-guy it’s best to give him something nice with clean normal-sized font letters.
Before the gig we had set up a big table with all the merch right by the main entrance. Most bands had merchandise, and most of the merchandise were comprised of t-shirst. I don’t think the bands did to well on that front, at least we didn’t although we had a pretty cool design. So yeah, we lost money on with the shirts and we’ve decided to blame the recession.
The DJ and The VJs
We thought that having a DJ perform during downtimes we keep the party going and it did. We got very lucky with the VJs as they accepted to come over the day of the gig! That was cool: they set up their projectors and white panels around the stage and did their thing all night long. It truly added a nice atmosphere to every set.
Well on the party side of thing, the night was a success and everybody seemed to really like the ambiance as well as the bands. Me and Greg spent the whole day more or less managing stuff so it wasn’t really a night out for us, but still we had a blast. Now on the budget side we were in the red. All bands got paid $85 (including us), so if you only consider the venue cost, which originally was $425 but got priced down to $300, we were already loosin’ money. Add to that the cost for the t-shirst ($200), pre-sale tickets ($12), DJ ($40) and VJs ($40) and you realise we are indeed newbies in event organization.
But hey, we weren’t in it for the money and this was our first gig. Take away the Habs game, two bands on the bill (six is a lot…) and level to entry price to 10 buck and we might have broken even. Maybe by selling more shirts we could’ve of made a profit. And besisdes, for a six-band bill, all bands were pretty satisfied with their $85 (although one very big hassle was to know who sold how many pre-sales – this is certainly something we’ll keep in mind for our future shows).
So there you have it. If you have any questions on how to lose money at gigs, give us a hollar. And if you got any suggestions on how to become profitable, please let us know.
A warm mruff to all the bands present at the gig and to all our readers.