[Dixielandjazz] Selling Your Band & Creating Gigs

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 4 11:07:54 PST 2004

Tom Wiggins , John Petters, et al are fine examples of making those gigs
happen, rather than waiting for someone to call, shower our band with
money and beg us to perform.

Entertainment (yes that is our business) has become a VISUAL ART. It
started with talking movies, then morphed in TV, then morphed into
stadium concerts with the Beatles, Michael Jackson and others. Today's
audience did not, like us, grow up with their ears glued to a radio, or
to a Victrola or "Hi Fi" phonograph. They SEE their musical

An so bands would be well advised to get VISUAL or VISIBLE as Tom and
John advise. Get out there and speak. Where? In the Schools for one

I leaving in a few minutes for an hour performance with Barbone Street
at the Chadd's Ford Elementary School. We're doing a Jazz Story, similar
in form, but not content to that of Peter And The Wolf. For kids in
kindergarten through the 5th grade. Yeah, that's a good place to "SPEAK"
At age 93 or so, Johnny Blowers does that in NYC and many on the List do
similar programs.

What else can you do to get visible? I maintain an EMail list of 500
local addresses that includes about 2000 readers/fans. I also maintain
snail mail lists of: 750 local fans, 350 venues, 150 clients, 75
nightclubs, 150 Retirement facilities, 7 local jazz festivals and
roughly 250 prospects for who we would like to perform. Etc., etc. I
mail them schedules, success stories at similar venues, client comments,

But isn't that work? Yes, of course it is. But we are in an area with
about 7 other Dixieland Bands. Most are good. All undercut us on price.
But none do the leg work that we do to get our name out there. We are

Bottom line? Yes, we've lost a gig or two, but that pales in comparison
to the fact that we perform 10 times as many gigs as our closest

Following is a typical communication to some of our venues, By snail
mail, appropriately laid out on letterhead:

The Barbone Street Jazz Band
124 Lower Hopewell Road - Oxford, PA 19363
barbonestreet at earthlink.net

Steve Barbone - Clarinet / Leader

February 1, 2004

Ms. Dara Gordon
Performing Arts Coordinator
Longwood Gardens
P.O. Box 510
Kennett Square, PA 19348-0501

Dear Dara:

Once in a lifetime an older jazz musician comes across a young player
who is unique. It just happened to me and the Barbone Street Jazz Band.
The young man is an extraordinary jazz violinist. Someday he will surely
be a jazz legend if he continues to pursue his goals.

If Longwood has a spot for a concert with Barbone Street and this young
man, we would love to pursue it. Logistically, it is slightly difficult,
as he lives in New York City and must be accompanied by his mother. You
see, Jonathan Russell is only 8 years old and in the 3rd grade.

His Mom teaches classical guitar and schedules would have to be worked
out, like no Mondays or Thursdays. But this young man is extraordinary
and would be a natural for a program targeted for younger audiences.

As hard as it may be to believe, Jonathan, at 8, improvises jazz. He is
very musical in the style that we play and has appeared with
professionals in New York City and will be performing in the New Orleans
Jazz and Heritage Festival later this year.

The possibilities for a rather unique concert with him, ties to the
community and young people, etc.,  are fun to contemplate. After all, an
8, or soon to be 9 year old improvising jazz on violin is an event.

If there is an opening for him, we would love to present him. Audiences
of all ages would love it and would be astounded. For us, having played
with legends born in the 1800s, Jonathan represents a bridge linking
them to the 21st century. His Mom is very enthusiastic about his
performing with us.

Please let me know if you think we might get it all together.

In the meantime if we may assist you in any way, or answer any
questions, please contact me, or visit our band website at:


Steve Barbone

PS. Jonathan’s Website is http://www.geocities.com/jonathanjazz/

The Most Popular Hot Jazz/Hot Dance/Swing Band In The Delaware Valley

We've just booked our first summer gig with Johnathan, via that type of
letter. And it is a "Paying Gig" for him too. Now what? Another
marketing promo to venues about it and an invite to come see us, etc.
Got any young stars in your area? Of course you have. So get VISIBLE and
insure that this music continues at the same time.

Yes, this is a "Marketing" game. We revel in our full LOCAL schedule of
public and private paying gigs that our marketing generates. Is that
crass? Don't be silly, have we not all heard of "Advance Men" and the
role they played in popularizing folks like Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong
and Goldkette?

Steve Barbone

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