[Dixielandjazz] Advertising Redux

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 7 20:40:08 PST 2006

Right on, Ginny; Darn, if you can sell banjo gigs, you can sell OKOM Band
gigs. :-) VBG

One idea is to get an August 4, 2007 gig. That's a Saturday and is Louis
Armstrong's Birthday. Get a public park concert or something similar. The
press release the hell out of your local media about how the "Symphonic Six"
is doing a concert to honor the memory of the top jazz man of the 20th
century on his 106th Anniversary, Louis Armstrong, the man who codified
"America's" Music. That's how the Bix Festival in Davenport started. A
simple press release that The Southampton Dixie Racing and Clambake Society
Jazz Band was coming 1000 miles to play at Bix's gravesite on his birthday.
Several thousand people showed up, and they also played at the hotel where
they were staying. Packed the place. The rest is history.

Dave Brubeck & his wife sent direct mail promos to colleges before Brubeck
became popular. On their own, from their kitchen table. Followed up with
phone calls. Got 9 college concerts the first year. Then,  Joe Glaser
(Armstrong's agent) "discovered" Brubeck and become Dave's agent. The rest
is history. Jazz Goes To College

All it takes is an idea, a little confidence and some follow up.

One way to avoid "gifting" is to send the releases & photos to the editor,
rather than the music writer. But even so, there's nothing wrong  with
buying a drink for the writer/photographer if they cover you live. I've been
on TV 5 times in the last 6 years, and in the newspapers about 15 times with
photos. Haven't gifted anyone yet, though I did buy drinks for a beautiful
female reporter and her photographer at a brew pub one night.

As Ginny says, look for the human interest "hook". Barbone Street's first
hook was the "oldest jazz band in the Philadelphia area". (average age).
Another hook was when I moved from my big farm to my retirement farm 30
miles away. Got publicity photos working a gig, as well as with my wife,
dogs and horses at my new digs, in my new hometown paper, etc. Another hook?
Jonathan Russell.  Hire him and send out those press releases. He should be
playing a jazz festival every week, for big bucks because he is "IMAGE".
(and also happens to play a wonderful "jazz" violin.)

Lots of hooks out there for you. And being this kind of hooker is a lot of

Steve Barbone

on 11/7/06 6:42 PM, Gluetje1 at aol.com at Gluetje1 at aol.com wrote:

Get TV coverage.
Snip above from Steve to say, Yes!  Local PBS produced a well-done ten
minute feature on St. Louis Banjo Club for a program called Living St.
Louis.  The station frequently re-runs the segment.  I had at least enough
smarts to sit in the front row, smile at the camera and keep my hands
moving.  More than a year later, probably once a week someone recognizes me
from that.  Within past week have booked one banjo-duo gig from a person who
asked if that was me on TV.  Same thing happened for a friend who was a
member of a dancing group.  So look for an angle that you can pitch to
public broadcasting.

Also local suburban type newspapers are always looking for a story angle on
someone that lives in their community, so get creative with what that could
be--I dunno, something like local Dixielander raises goats, volunteers at
historical society--what is that you do for the community?  See whose byline
is on the stories and contact them.  That has happened for me at least a
half-dozen times, but always in the context of 'musician who also .....'

By asking what you do for your community, I just tried to sneak in the idea
that if you are out and about, you have more contact for handing out cards.
I was surprised to grow up and discover that those who sell join churches
where they believe they can maximize business success, etc.  Networking is

For past couple of years local banjo players lucked out by having an
effective PR person working voluntarily on behalf of PR for banjo club.  The
result is that individuals regularly call the club number wanting referrals
for hiring small groups of banjo players.  I know of five groups who are
getting calls as a result of this.  Cost to the individual is $25 year club
membership.  Sorry, the club will only refer banjo-playing groups.  I see
this as something that local jazz clubs could do--but does not do in St.
Louis.  And no, I'm not volunteering today to do PR for St. Louis Jazz Club.

One jaded experience regarding Steve's advice to have your gigs publicized
in urban newspapers.  Based on limited experience, that does apparently
often involve "gifting" the journalist who does the article.

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