Firstly, whilst people are willing to take a second mortgage out for a couple of Kate Bush tickets, they will do almost anything to avoid paying to get into a local show. The classic answers range from “I paid the other guy,” or “ I washed my hands and the stamp came off” (yeah right) to “My mate’s in the band” (surely you want to see him get paid then?) and the occasional “ I don’t pay to see local music” (shut the door behind you!) That’s if they bother to come at all. Many peoples idea of supporting live music is going to see their brother-in-laws cover band playing the Bucket Factory Social Club and then rabidly posting “support live music” banners on Facebook. There are also a large percentage of musicians who don’t go to watch other bands play, I mean, where is the community spirit in that? Why not treat gigs as a networking opportunity, or at least a chance to check out what else is going on, but don’t treat it as a “them and us” situation, this isn’t football, this is music. Co-operation rather than competition.
Even when booking the acts the problems start. Bands who don’t meet the criteria of your bookings whether by genre, attitude or proficiency will regard you as some sort of evil regime and discuss the cliquey nature of the local scene on social network sites. When they do so they will spell it clicky. And be prepared for people to be blinded by their own self-importance, especially if you are looking for bands to play your shows. If you make a public appeal for a specific genre of band to fill a gig slot, be it pop, funk, indie or jazz, ninety per cent of the responses will come from newly formed metal bands based over 50 miles away.
So why do we do it? Because we are not just promoters, we are music snobs eager to show the man in the street what he is missing out on or maybe just to show off our holier than thou music taste. And you know, sometimes we even get it right. Sometimes.