[Dixielandjazz] Re: Successful Festivals - Pismo beach

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 22 12:54:43 PST 2003

> WILLIAMHORTON at peoplepc.com> wrote (polite snip)
> The Pismo Mardi Gras is "failing" . . .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.

Sometimes this pig headedness on the part of those who benefit most from a festival results from a NIH (Not Invented Here) mentality.
These "businessmen" be an integral part of the festival planning and implementation process. That BSR just wants to have a 25th
Anniversary is not a good reason for a festival. The festival should have a visible benefit to the business community, and to local
charities etc. And that should be THE REASON.

> 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 festivals!

The Pismo Jubilee has always been a successful festival and Bill Horton et al are to be commended for making it so. That does not,
however, mean that it will continue into the future as a successful festival. Once again, to assure continued performances, the
"businessmen" and any "sponsors" one can find should be made an integral part of the process.

No need to have rap or heavy metal. "Jazz" Festivals should succeed quite well with just jazz in various forms from Trad to Igor to Swing
to even, shudder, smooth jazz if times get tough. Basically because as in any business venture, your customers (audience) change every
year. Some die, some move away, while others move in, etc. So one needs to figure out how to sustain the audience.

Bethlehem MUSIKFEST had over a million visitors to its Festival in each of the last 5 years. Their Best attended year ever was 2002 the
year following 9/11. Over 1.1 million attendees. Possibly because they drew more locally since folks did not want to travel by air. So
they drove to Bethlehem PA instead. Great success because they target a "General Music" audience and are less prone to catastrophic events
in one segment. (like trad audiences dying off, or not traveling) Similar in concept to mutual funds, they spread the risk.

Steve Barbone

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