[Dixielandjazz] Re: Declining Audiences for OKOM

Mike Durham mikedurham_jazz at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 15 10:49:43 PST 2003

Here's a thought: at our 14th annual Whitley Bay festival in July, we are 
offering free admission all weekend to anyone aged 16 and under, plus free 
admission on Sunday afternnon to older students in fulltime education. We 
are publicising these offers in local schools and colleges as well as via 
the local press. Hope this will pull some younger folks in, and we will 
report back on our success (or lack of it). Meantime, maybe othr OKOM 
festivals might like to try the same thing (maybe they have already? If so, 
did it work?).

Mike D.

>From: Stephen Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
>Reply-To: barbonestreet at earthlink.net
>To: dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
>Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Declining Audiences for OKOM
>Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 23:40:34 -0500
> > Bill Gunter wrote: (polite snip)
> >
> > As concerned musicians and fans we are going to have to come up with new 
> > innovative ways of keeping our music alive! I'm sure the events of 9-11 
> > an effect on travel to British Columbia last April but that is only a 
> > part of the problem. The main problem is that our audiences are growing 
> > and dying.
>Yes, as most everybody knows, ever since I joined the list, I've been 
>preaching the gospel
>of selling this music to the kids, much to the dismay of some of the "old 
>farts" on the
>Many of us seem to have absolutely no sense of humor, but rather all sorts 
>of self
>righteous clap trap about "Dixieland" as originally intended by the 
>originators of the
>list, or what "Dixieland" is, or what "OKOM" is etc., etc., etc. Each is a 
>singular opinion
>and we are entitled to our own. However, the fact remains that what Bill 
>says above is all
>to true. The audience for the music we all so dearly love is dying.
>Dixieland is already "preserved". On records, in small jazz clubs around 
>the world, in
>museums and lots of other places. There is no need for us to further 
>preserve it.
>However there is a crying need to get this music to the kids. And to do 
>that the bands have
>to play where the kids are. Only then, will those youth bands that we 
>sponsor have a place
>to play when they grow up. Only if we make Dixieland, OKOM, or what ever 
>the hell you wish
>to call it, PROFITABLE for musicians, will we have the best musicians 
>playing it.
>If that means a more energetic form, or some more modern chords, or a 
>little different
>structure than George Lewis or ODJB or Bix style then so be it. Better that 
>than than slow
>death of live performances, by lesser and lesser bands, for lesser and 
>lesser amounts of
>For 30 years, OKOM festivals have been a "cheap" way for fans to hear the 
>music and gather
>with friends at the same time. But, recently they've driven band earnings 
>downward, while
>the fan base slowly died off. They have been run like private clubs and 
>they served their
>purpose well. Sadly, their heyday and relevance is fast declining. No point 
>for us to live
>in denial about it. It is the standard life cycle of all endeavors. Great 
>while it lasted,
>kudos to those who made them work, BUT now they are just about gone.
>We need a change of venue. And we need to at least double the present 
>ticket prices at
>those festivals which will find  a way to survive. Probably triple them. 
>Yeah, I'm still
>steamed at the guy who wrote a letter to the American Rag complaining that 
>because they
>gave the bands more time between sets, he only saw 20 hours of music for 
>his $75, as
>opposed to 24 hours the year before. Hard to feel sorry for that kind of 
>fan. Some of the
>festivals at which we play, charge $35 to see us for 2 hours so we figure 
>he got a real
>So put your "outside the box" thinking cap on. Quit carping that this is a 
>"Dixieland" list
>in the strict sense. Quit carping that those gay or gray songs were not 
>OKOM. Just about
>every song written between 1920 and 1960 is OKOM in the broad sense.
>Think instead of how to get this music to the kids. What is it that brought 
>you to it? What
>can we do to bring the next generation to it? 9/11, the war in Iraq, all 
>may have had a
>depressant effect, but then, maybe that's just a convenient excuse. Barbone 
>Street had it's
>best year ever in 2002, the year after 9/11. While 2003 is not quite as 
>good it is close.
>Why the slight decline? Because at 70 years old, we are starting to pick 
>and choose. We are
>not so eager to please everyone and run around like when we were kids 
>accepting every gig,
>doubles, triples etc. Bad enough we had 4 gigs in the last 3 days.
>Biggest problems with OKOM? Don't look now, but it is us, the present 
>audience. We are so
>set in our ways we don't see the forest for the trees. How many times must 
>names like Jon
>Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart, Dan Barrett, Ed Polcer, Joel Helleny, Joe 
>Ascione, Frank
>Vignola, Kenny Davern, Ken Peplowski, Tom Saunders, Ed Metz etc., etc., 
>etc. be thrown at
>us before we realize that these guys are far superior to most of the OKOM 
>musicians we talk
>about on the list from the past? How many of them were appearing in 
>Victoria? Or?
>Why, for example, is Kellso in Europe right now, instead of playing in the 
>USA?  Could it
>be that's why there is a market for OKOM in Europe and not here. It seems 
>they listen (and
>pay for it) to our best musicians and we don't. How many reading this have 
>Kellso on CD?
>How many even know of him?
>Steve Barbone
>PS. As some of you know, Barbone Street makes it's living by playing mostly 
>for young
>people so please don 't tell me it can't be done. And please don't moan 
>about our style.,
>or what it is you think we play unless, like Bill Gunter, you've seen or 
>heard us in
>action. If I sound a little testy, forgive me. I am passionate about 
>expanding the audience
>for this music. I do it my way and would be happy to have others do it 
>their way, but DO
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

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