[Dixielandjazz] Getting Better Gigs

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 29 20:22:21 PST 2004

 Tom Wiggins <TCASHWIGG at aol.com> wrote (polite snip)
> Hi folks:   Here is a book worth checking out, you might find some useful
> information, which is the most valuable commodity I know.     Heck as long as
> I 
> have beeninthe booking business I learned something new just from this short
> article that I was not aware of in just the opening paragraphs.

Some good stuff there. Those of you who know Bruce Gast (New Jersey) might
take a lesson from him. Bruce produces multiple jazz concerts in at least 3
different venues in New Jersey every year. Two theaters and one Art Center
that I can think of off hand.

He features bands such as Midiri Bros. who he promoted quite successfully a
while before they were "discovered" by the OKOM Jazz Festival Circuit,
(largely because of his efforts) Plus groups led by Davern, or Peplowski, or
Vignola/Ascione, or Independence Hall, or the Bix Memorial Band (Southampton
Dixie Racing & Clambake Society JB alums, and other high profile draws.

He makes a living, but I do not think he is getting filthy rich doing it.
Maximum audience numbers are probably a little less than 500 at the top
spots and sometimes less than 100. It is a hard row to hoe with OKOM. He has
a lot more expertise than the average band leader. And the bands he presents
are either better than most bands in then USA, or have a strong local

IMO the best piece of advice from the book in Tom's post is to "create gigs
where none existed before". Modify it to read; Create JAZZ gigs where none
existed before. 

It is surprisingly EASY to do. I've posted about that before, but for those
of you who might be interested, the article about developing a new audience,
and new venues (4500 words or so) will be printed in the next "American
Rag". (Dec/Jan Issue)

I'm just starting an e mail/snail mail gig campaign now to venues that don't
have jazz music, but do have music. Here are the first 2 paragraphs of my
letter:  Dear --------

"The popularity of Jazz got a huge boost a few years ago, with the PBS TV
series by Ken Burns featuring Wynton Marsalis, It helped Barbone Street
become the most popular jazz band in the Delaware Valley. (160 gigs a year)"

"Now, Lincoln Center's new 123 million dollar jazz venues have just opened
in New York City. Marsalis and PBS TV are again hosting a spectacular series
of Jazz At Lincoln Center Programs. And so Barbone Street will become even
more popular with the new, expanding audience for the music."

etc., etc., etc. tailored to the specific type of venue I'm approaching.
With a "bottom line" statement of how we can make money for them. And Two
pages (both sides) listing 100 venues we have recently played, band bios,
reviews and our current schedule.

We do it every year to replace the 10% or so of the past year's gigs we lose
because of death or change in the booking contact, club/restaurant folding,
Jazz Festivals that only use us every other year, or whatever. A fact of
life in every business. You must prospect in order to remain viable, at
least until you get Internationally famous, or hire an agent.

Steve Barbone

PS> What types of venues? See my website for a partial listing;
http://www.barbonestreet.com   Click on VENUES.

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