[Dixielandjazz] Finding Places to Play

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 8 19:38:47 PDT 2004

List mate Bob Craven (Colorado) and I were discussing off list how we
generate many gigs, Both of us contact all of the parks, towns,
boroughs, etc in the fall. He calls the recreation directors, or borough
managers, etc. I mail them. It pays off with at least 20 gigs a year for
him and about 30 for me the following summer. Our July 4th gigs also
come from these contacts.

I also contact all of the "society" fund raisers who hold parties,
balls, dinners, etc. By watching the newspapers like a hawk for a year,
one can pick up at least 20 leads to groups that use music as part of
their program and go after them the following year.

So, we've done benefits like the "Hemophilia Hop", or for The Brandywine
Conservancy, The Laurels Preserve, American Red Cross, The Cancer
Society, The Large Animal Protection Society, Wheels of Wellness,
American College of Physicians, various Political Events, etc., etc.
Today, I just booked another one, the Beaux Arts Ball in Philadelphia.
At the New Constitution Center on Independence Mall, it draws 2500 to
3000 attendees to a costume party, for the benefit of charity on
Halloween. Some are movers and shakers on the local social scene. This
annual event is a super, high profile party.

And the beauty of these gigs is that they generate weddings, and parties
from folks who attended. All Jazz gigs. It helps to remember that
"Society Bands" like Lester Lanin, Meyer Davis et al ALWAYS played some
Dixieland at those famed "Society Parties" of bygone years. The demand
is still there, but the newer society bands don't know how to fill it.

I keep adding "leads" like these gleaned from newspaper society columns.
And some come from word of mouth because once you get started, you keep
gaining momentum.

If you are in California, or near any major metro area, you can develop
a lead list of well over 100 possibilities very quickly. Mine total list
of towns and fund raisers is now over 200. And I get close to 40 well
paying gigs a year from my mailers to it.
Simple enough to do in this world of computers, even for a hack like me.

And since these kind of folks love jazz, the gigs are all Dixieland or,
if you prefer since our trumpet player is black, Small Band Swing. Yes,
But is it art form? :-) VBG.

See you at the Coatesville Ice Cream Festival this Saturday. Bring your
ax and join Bill Scann, a Las Vegas trombonist friend of Glenn Dodson's
who is coming to sit in.

Steve Barbone

PS. Who said Dixieland players don't appeal to young audiences? Young
Jonathan Russell is now getting fan e-mails from some of those little
girls he sang to on our July 4th gig at the Wilmington DE, USA River
Front Park.

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