I survived another “new business” gig this weekend. Not going to lie, it is a LOT of work trying to gauge how to bring in bodies to a new business. Every area has it’s niche, demographic, and attitude. We all try our best to cater and adapt to this competitive market. Every now and then we have an experience that is out of the ordinary. For example. This weekend I arrived early as usual to find only two patrons. Not bad for a new business but, definitely not promising for an artist. I get on the social media an kindly remind people of the location because a) The venue does not advertise for their own reasons and
b) Google does not yet recognise the venues address yet. It’s THAT new. Then I proceed to strap on my guitar and smile and wave at passersby. The shift manager then apologises thanks me profusely and tells me not to worry about volume and to just try to have fun so as to not fall into despair. However much fun I am having, I am of the personality that gets bigger to compensate for the lack of energy. Now, as the crowd slowly warms up to me and starts tipping, clapping along and smiling, I notice one gentleman acts less enthused. I then tactfully go around the room in between sets thanking the folks who came off the street and tell them of the growing business and when and where I can be found. I also most in attendance about volume and they all except the afore mentioned gentleman give me positive feedback. I later found out that even though he refused to give feedback, he was irate enough to write about my volume being too loud as he attempts to finish his homework for three hours. And he managed to stay for entire show without buying anything (to my knowledge) Folks, I can’t stress enough: this weekly arrangement brings in the best FREE entertainment once a week with free WI-FI simply as a bonus! And yes, patrons like to do their homework with soft soothing music in the background.
And while I agree that this is what the MAJORITY of our music should be, the artists and even the staff gets bored. So, it is a balancing act to play what they and the patrons who come specifically for one thing want: LIVE MUSIC! To borrow from yahoo’s online radio station called coffeehouse, their slogan is “get real variety with an edge but never lose the vibe”
The truth is, when I play what everyone else plays, I get crickets. And, I. AM. An artist. And do you know what? After 32yrs of playing music, and 2yrs playing at this venue, I am NOT going to start second guessing myself now. The fact is, the venue plays classic rock, blues, and EDM even before I start. Besides, the applause, tips, and smiles I get, balance out the few who feel I should only play boring background music. When you come see me, I am open to private suggestions and I will try to remain professionalIy adaptable. Do you agree? Please comment. I am ever so grateful to those who support the arts, myself included! Thank YOU!