[Dixielandjazz] Re: Heads up Sacramento Groups
miltloomis at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 28 12:39:14 PST 2005
Our band Grab Bag played for about two years
at a little (and I mean little) coffeehouse in
suburban Walnut Creek, CA. The owner was very
nice and supportive of the music. She served
barbecued dinners during the spring and summer
and we and other bands that we alternated
weekends with would play outside to the patrons.
People seemed to enjoy it. But in the summer
of the second year as the CA economy drifted
steadily downward, people stopped coming. This
coincided with an increase in the prices for the
dinners, so that you were spending about what you
would at a good indoor restaurant to have a
barbecued dinner, drink and dessert. Plus you
were expected to tip the band.
The owner never did any advertising or
promotion other than putting posters up in her
establishment and putting listings in the weekly
entertainment calendar of the local paper. Pretty
soon we noticed that about the only regulars at
our gigs were a few of our loyal fans (who didn't
buy dinner) and a lot of the owner's relatives,
who seemed to be dining for free. We said,
Then she talked the shopping center tenants
int he center where the coffeehouse was into
holding a weekly auto show on a Saturday, and
they paid a lot of money to hire sound people to
set up a stage and have all the groups that
played at the coffeehouse come and play. We even
got paid a small amount. But of course we'd get
I think they thought the folks who came for
the car shows would stay and eat and drink at the
coffeehouse, and patronize other center stores,
but of course those folks had all their money
sunk into their cars, so they would come and sit
at the tables and maybe order one drink and
listen to the music, but not buy anything else.
To make a long story short, the coffeehouse
ultimately went broke and vanished into the
financial ether. We've gone on to play elsewhere.
But I think the point is, you gotta promote
something properly, AND price it so that it's
attractive to folks, attractive enough to pull
them away from their own barbecues and TV sets.
Then of course you gotta hope ASCAP, BMI and
SESAC don't sic their lawdogs on you! ;^)
Happy Webtrails, Grampie Bob Loomis
"So Many Tunes, So Little Time"
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