[Dixielandjazz] Showing Up

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 2 06:21:10 PDT 2004

Woody Allen said something like 80% of life is just showing up. Yet I
noticed in the "Headliner" thread that some folks were afraid to hire an
expensive headline act because if nobody shows up at the festival, they (the
headliner) still expect to get paid.

Well, um, yeah. I know that if our band shows up, we expect to get paid for
the gig. On outdoor gigs, subject to rain outs, if we are not notified
before we leave home base (about 3 hours max) we expect to get paid, if we
are there and it starts to rain. We put that into our contract. How about
the other bands out there?

Other thoughts: 

Most OKOM festivals hire the same old bands. And so, to think that The Good
Old Boy Jazz Band will draw a new audience for your festival is wishful.
Chances are they might draw 10 or 12 people but that's about it. Even the
top OKOM names will rarely draw more than 100 "new" people to a festival.
Very few exceptions to that.

Case in point: Orange County Jazz Festival cancels 2005 because advance
hotel reservations were down compared with last year at this time. WHAT?
They hadn't even announced the line-up yet so it would seem that the usual
suspects who attend could care less who appears and in this case, there were
not enough of them to justify a festival.

Yeah, yeah, I know, there are a couple of exceptions on the DJML, who will
travel thousands of miles to see Igor, or Titan, but you are not the average

Regarding headliners. They are different, they have national and/or
international followings. They are folks who WILL DRAW ADDITIONAL PEOPLE
over and above the usual suspects who attend OKOM festivals. They are people
like Preservation Hall, Marsalis and LCJB, Marsalis and his small band N.O.
Jazz group, Arturo Sandoval, Nicholas Payton, Diana Krall, etc. Festivals
should be booking them, in separate venues if they want to draw more new
people. And yes, they expect to be paid if they show up, they are

Sad to say, "headliners" who can draw like they do, are virtually
non-existent in the OKOM ranks. Now, if we could draw more people via real
headliners, perhaps when our guys finally got heard by the jazz oblivious,
that would change.

Steve Barbone

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