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Asking for fair procedures to juggle half a dozen solo acts for one venue

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  • Asking for fair procedures to juggle half a dozen solo acts for one venue

    I'm not interested in getting into the agency biz, branching out or taking a cut from musicians. My role is to grow the business at one restaurant & bar which involves a multitude of things and I took on live music because I want to make sure the musicians are treated well and promoted. They all basically know and refer each other so everything will be transparent.
    What's a fair system to arrange who plays when? e.g. do I give one act first dibs for a period of a say a week to pick the Fridays he can play in July and let me know the ones he can't so I can move on to the next person to fill the gaps and so on? Seems tedious when I describe it.

    Any experienced suggestions from the musicians or venues in this position are much appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Charliebrm View Post
    I'm not interested in getting into the agency biz, branching out or taking a cut from musicians. My role is to grow the business at one restaurant & bar which involves a multitude of things and I took on live music because I want to make sure the musicians are treated well and promoted. They all basically know and refer each other so everything will be transparent.
    How can we clone you? Seriously, the world needs more venue managers like you!

    What's a fair system to arrange who plays when?
    What a great question!

    How it's typically handled is the more popular the band / artist is, the later in the lineup they'll typically be placed. In other words, if you're running three bands on a Friday night, the "opener" will typically be the newest, least-known band with the least experience and the band with the lowest popularity. The bands going on later in the evening (when things are hopefully busier) are the bands with the bigger "draw" and name recognition. Put the "headliner" on early and when they're done playing, their fans will usually leave with them - leaving you with an emptier room.

    You don't have to run things that way, and you might not want to if doing things in a different manner makes more sense for your business. But it's really not totally up to you - yes, you set the parameters at your place, but the bands will also want some consideration too, and typically the hottest band in town isn't going to want or be able to get much of their fan base to a show if it's happening at 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and they'd probably squawk at the idea of going on at 7:30 PM as the opener for some unknown band too. And of course, there's everybody's schedules and availability to consider too.

    e.g. do I give one act first dibs for a period of a say a week to pick the Fridays he can play in July and let me know the ones he can't so I can move on to the next person to fill the gaps and so on? Seems tedious when I describe it.
    You're going to need to schedule to fill time slots. It's a necessary chore. Who gets first dibs at claiming which time slots is the question.

    Have you heard these musicians play? It's extra time & effort, but if it was my place and I wanted to make sure the entertainment was suitable, I'd go out and see the musicians when they play elsewhere and see how they do. That tells you which ones would be the best "fit" for your place, as well as gives you an idea how big their draw is and how well they're working with the audience.

    Give those bands / artists that you're most impressed with first dibs on bookings / picking the dates / times when they want to play, and then fill out the rest of the schedule from there.
    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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    • #3
      Thanks Phil. We only have one performer per night. Fridays since last fall it's been alternating between two players who are close friends, who've supported us from the start and we support them. Since April we've been trying Saturdays and that's where the other half dozen known and new are being scheduled. All of these folks have performed here at least once, or they come from the same group of similar musicians who vouch for them and they've been as described or better at entertaining the patrons.

      I guess I might have created a cart before the horse dilemma for myself. I've been going about it 2 ways.

      1) contact the musicians and ask each to reply with which Saturdays for the next two months that they could play, and which they know for sure they can't make it. When I get back enough responses with dates, I can slot them in and keep looking if there are gaps.

      2) The owner wants me to give one band that connects with a younger, livelier crowd first dibs for Saturdays through the summer. But if they are slow getting back to me, and in the end they can't make any dates, now I'm chasing down the others who've found other gigs so we've got no live music that week.

      I might have shot myself in the foot already trying to accommodate that particular group by holding up my July dates for them until I hear back or not in a week's time that ends tomorrow.

      .

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      • #4
        First, bless you for caring!
        Second...you need to be lot more business like about this. Booking is about the business, and waiting more than 3 days to hear back is not the way to go. I don't know your market, but here in LA, it is all about 'if you snooze, you lose', and band bookings get done in 3 days or less...and often months in advance.
        For solo acts? One day, yes or no. Period.
        I would just set up a rotation between your weekend slots, and maybe do some midweek if your market will sustain that. You've got 6 acts and an average 8 nights a month. Over the course of the summer, everyone gets a Friday night, everyone gets a Saturday...where's the problem?
        "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

        "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

        Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick

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