“Do Your Fucking Job!” by Lil Michelle-Heart Like a Lion Booking

Now, to discuss everybody’s favorite topic: promoters not promoting.  I take a lot of the promoter bashing with a grain of salt, since quite a bit comes from bands being angry at poor outcomes of shows which were partly caused by their lack of effort (and the promoter’s lack of effort), or from being mad the promoter didn’t book them on a show they really wanted to play.  As said previously, it’s easy to not do what one is supposed to and blame someone else.  Promoters do it a lot too.  It’s very rare for a band to be horrific to work with, I’ve had only one experience like that, and that band ended up collapsing under the weight of their own drama and breaking up, just as I’d predicted.  Such a thing isn’t common, though, and most of the time a promoter puts down a band, it’s the promoter’s fault.  Same with venues most of the time (unless it’s Harpo’s or Blondie’s of course, then you deserve what you get.  Lay down with turds, get up with shit all over you.).  I’ve been very fortunate to have good relationships with every venue at which I’ve booked, or discussed potential booking.  When everybody involved are friends, it removes the possibility of anybody getting fucked over from the equation and makes for a much more enjoyable experience overall.

Why would anybody book a show and not want lots of people to be there?  There’s no point.  Remember shows you’ve booked/played/attended that had hardly anybody there?  Were those fun?  The only way they can be fun is if good friends are there.  While it’s nice to sometimes have a tight-knit show with close friends, that’s not the intention.  I’d rather have friends, plus lots of other friends of other people there.  I’d rather see smiles on the band members’ faces when I hand them good amounts of money.  If you’re going to be lazy and put the full burden of promotion onto the bands, or not even communicate that to them, just don’t even bother.  A few posts on Facebook don’t count as promotion, people receive a barrage of of event invitations daily, what makes yours stand out?  People often don’t remember Facebook events, especially considering that Facebook has made them less obvious on the main page.

Here are some other things that promoters do that annoy me: 1. Not book a lineup that draws.  The bands are trusting your expertise to book a show that will catch people’s interest.  If you book bands that are different genres that have nothing in common, or bands that played together on a show a week ago, that isn’t showing any sort of intelligent strategy.  If you book the same 4 bands over and over on every show, that’s your fault for not branching out and talking to people enough.  I personally love meeting people and talking to people, and that’s one thing that drew me to booking shows.  2. Not pay attention to other shows/events happening on that date.  Sometimes things will come up on the same date after you’ve booked it, all you can do is increase promotion of your show and highlight things that differentiate your show from the other.  But booking a show that’s similar to one already announced on that date in the same location is ridiculous, it’ll just make for a so-so turnout at both shows.  You’d be better to move the date, even if it has to be way in the future.  It’s a promoter’s job to be informed of what’s going on, and it’s more beneficial to everybody to work with other promoters, rather than against them.  Which leads into 3. Have catty, back-biting, competitive attitudes toward other promoters.  This isn’t a dick-waving contest, it’s booking shows.  And promoters who have good intentions and a love for the scene all have the same goal.  Respect and support go a long way.  While there are a limited number of dates and venues, the possibilities of show booking are infinite.  There’s enough to go around for everybody.

So therefore, when it comes to booking/promoting a show, I think the promoter’s responsibilities are primary over the bands’ responsibilities.  If a show is booked fucked-up to begin with, there’s not much a band can do to help.  If a promoter doesn’t care enough to have a show he booked reflect positively on him, there’s nothing more I can say about that.

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