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Question(s)of the Day. April 29/04


c-towns
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Well, I had the pleasure of experiencing Threat from Outer Space at a private show last night here in Calgary, not really private but there was 6 people there. Everytime I see this band they are getting better and better, really digging when the two horns are working at the same time.

Anyways, my question(s) is this.

What are the most effective ways to draw crowds to shows and what are the best ways to spread the word about these bands to people that aren't familiar with them?

I've been putting up posters recently for a lot of bands here in Calgary and I must say, the posters aren't that great, they really don't seem to get the message across as to what the band is about.

Would it be wise to put references on the posters, like as to who the band kinda sounds like or is infuenced by that is a bit more recognized?

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Not only promoting the band, but promoting the bar seems to be a good idea. There has to be a place where people know they can count on a couple of nights a week for good music, say thursday and saturday. It wouldn't be that far of a stretch to sit down and write a good piece about the local bar getting all the gigs and really talk it up. Mention the variety of acts you've seen recently, and how you may have enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. Write a piece and submit it to as many local entertainment rags as possible. Even if there are say 5-10 people that might come out, thats more than before and those people will hopefully have friends....start the revolution, mang!

Of course the focus is always on the band and the music, but by helping to promote the bar/club, everyone could get a little push.

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In my opinion....

What are the most effective ways to draw crowds to shows?

unfortunately, big name, headlining acts. :) but if that's not possible, see below. also, for smaller bands, having shows when a whole lot of other things aren't going on can bring more people as well.

>what are the best ways to spread the word about these bands to people that aren't familiar with them?

honestly, word of mouth. whether it's through real live conversation with people, or on the internet. if you're flyering somewhere, take a second to talk to people about the show, instead of just thrusting paper in their hands. and messageboards like this one are very valuable. as long as the approach is honest and not an annoyingly obvious and relentless advertising ploy (a la cavern fans -- sorry, cavern :) ), it can be extremely effective. i can't even count the number of bands i would never have heard of otherwise, and would consider seeing based on things people have said (on here for example!), and i know this is true for other people as well.

>Would it be wise to put references on the posters, like as to who the band kinda sounds like or is infuenced by that is a bit more recognized?

unless they are a cover band, i would say no. every band wants to have their own sound, and if a band is advertised as "sounds like so-and-so", if they don't, or aren't as great as that band, you'll be setting people up to be disappointed. having said that however, a good description of the style of music would be a great thing to include on a poster.

also, if new posters are in order, a really out there approach could pique interest. for example, make it a parody of an ad, use the "as seen on tv" logo, change it to "as not seen on tv", have "customer testimonials", with strange & ridiculous quotes, just make it funny and interesting to look at. i know if i saw a strange enough poster, i may be tempted to check it out based on that alone (especially if a description of the music is included, and it sounds like something i might like).

just my four hundred and eighty-seven cents. :D

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Thanks Princess, excellent comments.

I get what your saying when you said "sounds like so and so" and the disappointment tha may ensue, but what about listing the bands influences just so the "newbie" if you will, has an idea of what to expect. I've seen many descriptions of bands that are just like, what the hell is that supposed to mean or many bands that all put the same basic description making it hard to distinguish what if any is the difference between these bands.

Anyway, thanks again foer your comments and keep em coming folks.

peace.jamesd.

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Also getting in touch with other kids in the scene. I remember the 'heady' music scence being pretty samll in calgary, but that has it's benifits. It lays the foundation of a tight knit community founded in the love of music. I would suggest trying to get the word out to kids in Banff/canmore as well. Music lovers don't mind a little travel if means shaking it down. I guess have a local community is key.

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I get what your saying when you said "sounds like so and so" and the disappointment tha may ensue, but what about listing the bands influences just so the "newbie" if you will, has an idea of what to expect.

I think saying you "sound like so and so" is just as bad if the band actually does sound like so and so. I'm more likely to think of a band like that as a "clone" and not hear the originality in the music.

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Almost any new band you go and see, your gonna be like "they sound like so and so and so and so combined", I know i do anyway. I just think listing the bands influences would spark the interest of the average joe reading a poster along the street. Just a thought, any bands or bands promoters have any imput?

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What if it's worded slightly different, would it have a different affect.

For instance instead of saying "They sound like The New Deal." You could say "Do you like the New Deal? You might like these guys then."

From my itsy bitsy experience, the best way to promote a show is through word of mouth. Posters are okay, and you really need to get the word out as much as you can by using tools like jambase, pollstar, jambands.ca watchtower, etc. you know, places that like-minded people go to in search of something to do.

It's so frickin' hit and miss sometimes. One time you'll do nothing and a ton of people will show up. Then the shows you put a ton of effort into have a low turn-out. She's a fickle beast.

Best of luck to you.

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this might sound silly, but try promoting this message board in the scene in Calgary... this is an incredible marketing tool... for it provides a forum to promote upcoming shows, and it allows people to meet people with common musical interests, and it also lets people know who is going and what-so-forth, this board has played an intrigual role in promoting the bands in Southern Ontario, I personally, have found tonnes of info, and it has really helped with my ever expanding musical knowledge. anyways, just a thought. Word of mouth also travels fast... with a young and growing population in Calgary, this scene would take off, in my opinion... good luck!

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every show is a different show, finding the right collective of responsive people may seem daunting

always possible

word of mouth works best, if you're out and about enough...good PR around the possibly responsive area of town works over time (posters/flyers)

yeah, once people trust a club and a night probably works best of all

dizzy twisted reply

cheers to carin and trying, a lot of people don't get out much but wish they did

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