We have just come up with the idea of putting on a flash-gig as a way of getting people to come to our show.
I don’t know what it is like in other cities, but in Leicester, it is really, really difficult to get people to come to gigs. There are over 8 live music venues in this city putting on gigs nearly every night of the week. There are over 300 local rock bands all of whom want to play as many times as they can in Leicester venues.
This means that competition for the limited number of fans who are prepared to go out and see live bands is fierce. Most of the publicity for gigs is done on the Internet – through social networking outlets and the websites where shows can be posted. Printing vast quantities of flyers and posters is not just expensive – it’s almost non-productive. If you go into our live music venues the walls are plastered from floor to ceiling with posters and there are always piles of flyers everywhere you look.
You can book a line-up of bands several weeks ahead only to find that by the time your own gig comes round, several other venues have started to publicise gigs that are in competition with your own. This is partly why we came up with the idea of a flash gig – an event date where we spot a date where not much else is happening and then we jump in, book a venue, some bands and then flog the publicity like mad.
It might work. We shall see. If everybody starts doing it might lose its edge. As an idea, it had its wow-factor. Every time we have put on a gig we have planned it carefully months in advance. We have done all the things that promoters are supposed to do. Worked steadily and consistently with the online publicity. Printed posters and flyers and trudged round trying to get people to take them.
The big night arrives. We think our bands are really great. We think we have got all the elements right for a top night of live music. We wait for the queues to form at the door.
Then disappointment. Fewer people turn up than we had expected and we begin to wallow in self-doubt, wondering where we went wrong. This pattern is repeated for touring bands – those who want to come to play in Leicester because they have heard its a place with good venues and lots of popular support bands. They have played up and down the UK but they fail to pull as many gig-goers as the little newbie band that went on first. It can be a hard life for both promoters and bands.
After several years of putting on gigs, I can’t just give up. There are just so many bands that I really like and want to book for gigs. I want to big them up because I think their music is just so great. I try to think outside of the box, try out new ideas to see if they work any better than the conventional wisdom of how to market shows.
So, we try the ‘flash-gig’. We will let you know if it works. [In fact, it worked really well and was a great success.]
If you want to see what happened to our ‘flash-gig’ you can read the report on our page
Arts In Leicester’s Flash Gig [no longer available online.]