[Dixielandjazz] The real reason Dixieland Festivals are failing as you know them.

Sun Dec 21 23:25:49 PST 2003

Dear Tom
Bear with me because your post was so long and it requires a number of
corrections, beginning with the title.  The Pismo Mardi Gras is "failing"
not for the reasons you imply, but simply because of the lack of business
acumen of the town business association.  Despite the fact that the Mardi
Gras has brought a ton of money to Pismo Beach for 24 years, and has always
close to broke even financially, these hick town "buinessmen" are abandoning
their sponsorship of it.  The Basin Street Regulars club (BSR) has a agreed
to put on the Mardi Gras in 2004, just so the Mardi Gras can celebrate its
25th anniversary.  The BSR has put on the Jubilee By The Sea in Pismo for 26
years, every one sold-out, very successful financially, no paid help, and
WITHOUT COMMERCIAL SPONSORS, which must be some sort of record for jazz

>From here on I'll insert my ** comments on your post--
----- Original Message -----
From: <TCASHWIGG at aol.com>
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 10:32 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] The real reason Dixieland Festivals are failing as
you know them.

The following is a letter I just got back form a Professional concert and
event Promoter that I sent to The Pismo Beach Festival folks to try and help
them after Bill Horton mentioned to me that they were giving up the Mardi
Gras promotion, and now they are considering eliminating the highly touted
successful Jazz festival because they are just too tired to do all the
necessary work to operate it any longer.

**Don't know which "Festival folks" he contacted-- the BSR or BIG or chamber
of commerce?  "Highly touted" is a gross exaggeration, since they limited
publicity to a very small budget.

It is disheartening to see folks who admit they could use some help and then
you send them professional help and they blow smoke up their face and wonder
why they lose interest from younger folks, that are perfectly willing and
to get involved and help save their festivals, etc., To keep burning bridges
with the professional people is a dangerous thing to do.  One day they may
wake up and realize that their sponsors have switched to other events.  This
business as any business folks is a numbers game, without them you get no
sponsorship money.  Sponsors want to see the potential of selling their
products to your audience and when you can no longer provide them with an
audience in substantial numbers to justify the money you are asking for then
it has a magic way of evaporating.

** Whoa!  The Mardi Gras has never had any corporate sponsors (although they
should have) so attendance figures didn't come into play here.  The Mardi
Gras has always attracted a good turnout.

This Promoter and I have organized and managed many concerts and festivals
for many organizations over the past twenty years in several States.  The
impression that we as professionals have gotten from most Jazz Societies and
festival promoters so far is that they don't want any help, and are content
to see their audience dwindle and the efforts of their years of work just go
to the cemetery with each passing member of yesteryear.  They are more
interested in having a private club for their own parties and have just
enough folks attend to pay the bills so they can have another party.   If
Dixieland Jazz turns folks into crusty old curmudgeons then maybe that is
why you can't attract a younger sustaining audience, who wants to pay money
to be around a bunch of nasty attitude people.

** Could it be that these "professional Promoters" aren't doing a very good
selling job to their potential clients?  If I don't sell any floggibbits, is
it my customers' fault?  And apparently you've never been to a BSR concert
or festival, because, if you had, you'd know these are the friendliest,
welcoming, helpful people you'll ever find!  You want nasty attitude, take a
look in your mirror!

All for now,

Tom Wiggins
"There'll be some changes Made"

"Thanks for the update Tom. If memory serves me correctly these tired old
guys were the same ones that were so cocky and arrogant two years ago that
they would not even consider selling single day passes! Right?

**Wrong!  The Mardi Gras sold 1-day passes.  The Jubilee By The Sea never
has for two good reasons:  They always sell out on All-events badges and, as
a consideration to those customers, have not potentially over-sold with
additional 1-day badges which could have crowded out the All-events punters.

I would be glad to look at this event with you for consideration.

We should plan to get to know the history of the Pismo event and the past
players. I can do some research on my end. Do they have a website? Maybe my
Rotary Club would like to pick up an event like this as a fundraiser. Maybe
three "Five Cities" Rotary Clubs could work together with us on it? Good
citizens down there don't like to see traditions die. Sponsorships should
not be too hard to get. I just hope that the old farts who ran the event for
years did not burn lots of other bridges like they did mine! I also know the
in the SLO jazz society who are looking for events to be involved with.

**The SLO jazz society has never, in my exerience, shown any interest in

As I recall, the Pismo event has been mostly Dixieland. Maybe that focus is
getting old and needs to be widened?

""There's some Dixieland, but most of the jazz is Chicago-style and swing,
and the Mardi Gras always has Igor's Jazz Cowboys.  "Widen" it to rap, heavy
metal, etc. and you can say goodbye to the tradjazz thousands who attend.

I hear that the Morro Bay Jazz Festival is not going to happen this January.
Have you heard anything about that?

Where does the Jubilee by the Sea take place and when?

**If Curtis doesn't know even that, I'd say he needed to do at least some
minimal homework before he approached whoever he did!!!!

This commentary is my own, not that of anyone associated with the Mardi Gras
or the BSR.  I now live 1200 miles from Pismo Beach, but, except for this
year's festivals, I've been a lowly volunteer at them for over 20 years.
Also, I'm a former chief engineer, not a salesman, but I've dealt with
hundreds of salesmen and Curtis doesn't sound like any I've ever bought
anything from!

Bill Horton

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