[Dixielandjazz] TIPS

norrie.thomson norrie.thomson at btopenworld.com
Fri Mar 7 07:58:27 PST 2003

Hi Listmates

As the secretary of a UK (Scottish) jazz club it is one of my functions to
book bands and set up the club programme.  The policy of the club is to
promote live, traditional jazz. Generally, 2 'local' bands are booked each
week with visiting bands once per month.

Source income is earned through an annual subscription to members and a
weekly admission charge. For 'local' bands a flat admission charge of £3 is
made with visitors to the club paying £4.

For visiting bands (ie from outwith Edinburgh) admission charges are set
according to what fee the band asks for.  This can range from £5 to £10.
For visiting bands, of course, hotel accommodation and travelling costs have
to be taken into account.

Each week we have raffle with prizes purchased by the club, although some
club members make occasional donations.  The profit made from the raffle is
normally the balancing figure between being able to pay the band (local and
visiting) and not being able to pay the band.  The club has a committee of 7
people, none of whom are remunerated in any way.

Personally, I spend around 20 - 25 hours per week on club business including
adminstrative tasks of publicity, correspondence, contacting bands,
maintaining the register of members, printing tickets, flyers (hand
dodgers), posters etc On the night, setting up and dismantling PA, making
sure that everything is OK for the bands and dealing with any 'punter'
problems and liaising with the landlord of the club venue. (I record every
session mainly to listen to what was played as I don't hear very much on
club nights - my club night is usually Saturday morning!).

The main reasons that I do this are:

1.   My love of  jazz

2.  If it wasn't for the club, very few of the local bands would have any
regular gigs - as with everywhere else, there are few regular gigs in pubs
or hotels.

3.  To introduce different bands to club members.

I cannot comment on visiting bands, many of whom are full time, mainly
because the musicians are retired from full time employment.  However, what
the local bands are paid will never make them rich, but, I have been told by
band leaders, it is a good and enjoyable way of keeping in practice.

Bands are not 'tipped' by either 'punters' or the club.  The opposite often
occurs in that bands will often donate a CD to the raffle!

Finally, I never haggle with bands over fees.  When discussing hire, I
consider the fee, if the club can afford it, how much I will have to charge
to break even and the potential attendance.  If the sums add up, I book the
band.  If not, I decline.


Norrie Thomson

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