[Dixielandjazz] Re: Declining Fstival Audiences

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 17 16:14:29 PST 2003

> RAHBerry at aol.com wrote (polite snip)
> I know that, for me, airports have gotten to be such a drag that I don't fly
> as often as I used to.

Hi Rae Ann

Yes, that is it in a nut shell. You (and I) and thousands of other old folks who survive
fly less and less each year. We used to travel all over the place. But now, it is a pain,
more because we are getting older than any other reason. Heck, we don't do anything with
as much frequency as we used to.

Our contemporaries die off, and we travel less. So the existing festival audience gets
smaller every year, and bands like mine do not travel except for a rare gig that turns us
on, because we figured out how to gig often locally, without the hassle.

Victoria's management may well have done the business of running a festival quite well.
However, no matter how well they might do that management function, IF it is in a losing
cause because they neglected to plan for the future, then the festival will still fail.

Example: I might run the best managed buggy whip manufacturer in the world, but if there
ain't no buggies anymore, I'm still going out of business.

And, re Victoria, according to their news release, they stiffed their suppliers to the
tune of 20%. That is the true measure of management effectiveness, especially if you ask
the stiffees. Imagine how pissed they are. Especially if they hear how great the festival
was yet they didn't get paid.

BSJBs club dates show that the old folks audience doesn't stay out late. Our older fans
who see us at various afternoon concerts, don't go to our jazz club dates because our
9:00 PM start time is their "bedtime".  They might fall by for the first set, but only a
dedicated few last past 10:00 PM. And if it snows, forget it. So, we make sure our
presentation grabs the 21 to 40 year olds who go clubbing, stay out late and spend money.

How many festivals do that?  Better yet, how many festivals should be doing that?  I
believe that if festivals are not doing that, then they are badly managed. I regret that
it might offend someone, however it is an honest opinion. From a jazz musician who also
got 30 years of business management experience along the way.

If, as a band, we were badly managed, we would not make the effort to appeal to younger
fans, get fired, complain that it is the fault of the young folks who don't appreciate us
and become embittered old musicians, dressing up in absurd clothing to play occasional
gigs for nasty people who look down on us. Perish the thought.

As Peter Drucker put it years ago:  "The primary purpose of a business is to stay in

Steve Barbone

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