[Dixielandjazz] School Gigs and Young Fans

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 11 14:10:20 PST 2005

Custode at aol.com wrote: (polite snip)
> Steve Barbone wrote of his success with school gigs, the  spin-off gigs they
> provide and the positive reaction/reception from the  kids in attendance.  I
> think most would agree that once in attendance, most  people have a grand time
> listening, dancing and experiencing OKOM.  The  problem has always been, and
> continues to be, simply getting people to hear  OKOM.
> Here is my question to Mr. Barbone: who pays for your band(s) to  perform in
> such venues. 

Why, the schools, of course.

1) Sometimes they provide the auditorium and charge a nominal admission to
cover the band when the gigs are at night.

2) Sometimes they provide an event, like the Performing Arts Festival
wherein the District pays for the event, competing school groups perform
free and our performance is paid.

3) Sometimes they provide a gym (elementary schools) and pay us to perform
for an hour in the afternoon. (we charge them a cut rate $420 for 6 pieces)

4) Sometimes the Parent Teacher's Group (PTA or PTO) helps with the funding
if the school has no money. (many elementary school performances)

5) Sometimes a local Arts Fund (Hadley Fund in our area) picks up our cost.

6) Sometimes the kids themselves hold a fundraiser to pay for the event.

7) Etc.

You are 100% right. The problem is getting the kids to hear us. Besides
schools, in Summer we play every street festival, public park concert, 4th
of July celebration, Horse Show, Fund Raisers, etc., etc., that we can. All
are paid for by townships, sponsors (like we are a Toyota car dealer's
favorite band) or other moneyed groups.

The opportunities are all around us and we make sure to explore ALL of them.

Speaking as a retired Sales/Marketing/CEO, the most common objection you get
when people are not convinced of the worth what you have to offer is:


We sales types call that a "bearded objection", meaning that it is simply a
false front that needs to be overcome before you can make the sale. It is
not the real reason, which is usually fear of hiring you because they don't
see the benefits YET.

Once you start playing a gig or two in the above venues, word of mouth takes
over, your worth increases, and you start getting lots of gigs when the
people start to CALL YOU.

The prevailing reason that all the other bands out there in DJML land don't
get these gigs is because

1) Many do not try.

2) Sometimes those that do, run away and hide when they get the "bearded"
objection" and so give up trying with the others much too soon.

The overwhelming reason for failure to get these gigs, IMO, is because most
bands do not keep trying after the first or second failure. That's also true
in many business failures. People just quit too easily and too quickly.
Those that persevere succeed, if they have a good product.

Not every school will take you up on your school program, but those that do,
make it VERY worthwhile.

There must be more than 3000 schools in the Greater LA area. Many of them
will have musical program money. Many will also put on musical programs in
their auditoriums at night. Many will react favorably to an OKOM pitch.

And that is true all over the USA. Only the numbers of schools change.
Except for Don Ingle who lives in the boonies, I would think that most of us
have 100 or more schools to pitch. Me, I have at least 1000 in more than 100
school districts within an 80 mile radius. Add that to the public concert
venues over the summer where the kids are and the possibilities for OKOM and
a youthful audience are truly enormous.

Steve Barbone

PS. Look at Phat Band. They are doing it with 16 or 17 pieces!!!! As well as
getting school gigs in far off cities. As is Maynard Ferguson.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list