Search This Blog

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Promoting gigs 101

Promoting gigs is often seen as a thankless task by those who do it. If there are individuals who consider it to be a pathway to fame and fortune, and you know them, then give them a slap.
It's for their own good.
The amount of effort put into booking a headlining band, arranging supports, sorting out venues, arranging equipment and accommodation, negotiating a rider, printing tickets, making posters and flyers and then going out and about advertising the gig is the story that is never told.
All of this needs to be done prior to anyone setting foot on a stage or a punter entering the door.
Then when everyone is enjoying the acts you will more often than not find yourself at the end of a cold and damp corridor - or just around the corner from where the action is - taking tickets, stamping hands, and generally keeping the peace while smiling inanely at the jokes that those who are slightly worse for wear insist on telling you.
Then when it is all over people can congratulate you on what a great night it has been before you go home and make pizza for the bands. Then there's breakfast in the morning to be sorted.
No one talks about all that.
Yet after saying all this Kel and myself keep coming back to doing it again and again.
Someone maybe needs to give us a slap.
The upside to it all though is that most of the time the stress and hassle is worth it.
Even if the night isn't a huge success and you find yourself out of pocket there is still something worthwhile about it all.
One of the positive aspects is making something out of nothing.
The process of an idea pushed forward into becoming a reality can give you a bit of a buzz.
While most people are talking about it you are doing it.
A successful gig will give you a high so good that it should be registered as a Class A.
Then there's is the friendships forged.
You can't put a price on that.
I don't mean with the bands who are just travelling through - although most of them are cool as the proverbially cucumber - but with the people who come back again and again. You find out that you have loads in common with someone who might live three streets away, but you never knew them until they turned up at the first, second and third gig.
It's not unusual to be stopped in the street to ask what you have coming up and it is from that little acorn that relationships grow.
Just recently my 16 year old son had been moaning about not being able to attend some of the gigs due to them all being for over 18s.
If I was just someone that was heading out to club and pub gigs then his moaning would be just that. A gripe I could do nothing about, but through promoting the gigs I asked two acts to do an acoustic set for him in my flat and both agreed.
I mean how great is that?
Push the coaches back, clear a space and have a nice relaxed gig in your front room with a limited audience.
Probably the best thing about it for me though is that it is an extension of my love for music and the counter culture.
On the outside looking in I'm a single parent working in care and struggling to get by just like virtually everyone else, but that is just one part of my life and I'm also immersed in music. Loving every minute of it. Doing an unpaid job that I love.
There is huge satisfaction in it all, and for all the trials and tribulations there have been times when it has actually kept me sane.
So I guess I will just keep dipping my toe in. Taking a break when it is too much and then diving back in when the mood takes me.
Just confirmed today is the return of Dave Sharp, ex guitarist of the Alarm, who is currently extending on the sound that Guthrie and then Dylan pioneered.
He's in the final leg of making a new album and until that is done and dusted we really can't comment, but if he can capture just 20% of the magic he weaves live then it will be something pretty special.
Supports have still to be sorted, but the ElDiablo signal has went up and I'm just waiting on the nod from a few people before I can announce the full line up.
Apart from that we also have The Duel confirmed. Another personal favourite of mine.
In fact Kel and me don't put on any bands that we don't personally like. That would be too much like a business.
So anyone you see at one of the shows we have arranged is there not because they were simply available, or a mates band, but because we like what they do.
I'm looking forward to this as their last trip to Scotland was plagued by problems from really, really, crap weather keeping people from attending, a crowd who were mainly there to see the support band and buggered off prior to a note being sung or a chord being struck and then sound gremlins added to the misery.
This time it's going to be a different story and they are going to imprint the name of the Duel in local history as THAT band who came and stole our hearts.
So far one support band has been arranged. A local mob called Mechanical Smile who have the bones of a good band in them and I'm hoping will blossom into some home-grown talent that we can be proud of.
We have all seen bands like this. everything is in place, but we are just waiting on them to align and then they can shine bright.


  1. Get who you like to attend,and even you may get some obscure acts to come here too,maybe robert wyatt and other likewise artists who have no respect for the crappy record industry:)

  2. I dont think i know of anyone in the Kilmarnock area who puts on bands purely for ego sake. Ir should'nt be about money, thanks to money and ego, the town has missed a few good artists coming to the palace or whatever venue. If you can tell me one who does it for the ego i will be suprised,very suprised :)

  3. what about Hugh Cornwell :)

  4. I don't get the logic in what you mean here.
    On one hand you say that you don't know anyone in the Kilmarnock area who does it for ego or money, but then go on to claim that the area has missed a few good artists due to money and ego.
    Do you mean on the artists part?
    Apart from that of course ego can come into it. That's got nothing to do with money, but if anyone manages to pull off a good gig then it feeds the ego.
    If you could point me in the direction of anyone who would deny that then I would be surprised.

  5. Re Hugh Cornwall. I wouldn't minds seeing him again. Last time it was a bit patchy, but he seems to have embraced his past and is playing the Stranglers songs with more relish according to all reports.
    There is the possibility of Viv Albertine (The Slits) but while I would love to see her I'm not sure about how much of a draw she would have in Kilmarnock.
    Obviously in my head it would work, but inside my head is a strange place.

  6. East ayrshire council is what i mean, maybe it aint a particular person,so to say its a he or a she is wrong, but fair to say its a collective of wankers that have the say to what goes and what doesnt go in Kilmarnock. Bad grammar,sorry :)

  7. Im sure you head is the right place,and maybe viv albertine will maybe have people scratching their heads saying "who's he", but all you can do is go for it i suppose. Yeah i mentioned Hugh Cornwell cos my partner is getting me vip package for the april tour,50 quid, but its supposed to be a wee perk me up to make me feel better :)

  8. Well I couldn't argue there. I know so many people who have had bad experiences with them that personally I wouldn't work with them.
    The SLF gig is a prime example of their ineptitude.
    I went to buy a ticket from the local theatres box office as the gig had been announced. They knew nothing about it.
    Then they said it was pencilled in, but as no deposit for the hall had been paid it wasn't confirmed.
    A week later it turns out its themselves who have put the band on.
    The left hand doesn't know what the right is doing.
    Virtually zero promotion work made sure that it fell short of selling out as it should have done.
    An absolute joke.
    I'm not going to say names here, but a couple of guys are 11 grand (Yep 11,000 pounds) out of pocket after their dealing with them and all they were doing was trying to bring some bigger acts to the area.
    Best just to keep them out of the loop in my opinion.
    I was asked if I wanted to arrage a bigger event with a couple of bigger bands and I knocked it back as there would be too many hoops to jump through.

  9. I got emailed by Jake saying the the gig was going ahead and to pass word around.Many of my friends went to the box office like you did and le and friggin tickets and were told the band were not playing there. Thank fuck i didnt go, the venue sounds like vortex sucking the sound away,so the next night i attended elsewhere :)

  10. More supports added. Jon Zip and Cal Murray are both confirmed for the Dave Sharp night and Roscoe Vacant and the Gantin Screichs, and Cal Murray again for The duel show.
    Currently I'm waiting on finding out if the Zips can commit to the Duel gig and The Dirt to the Dave Sharp one.

  11. Duel show was cancelled due to a venue refurb.