Concerts or Lack of Concerts!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Di B, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. Di B

    Di B Member

    When I first started out in banding, the council jobs were an important part of your income in a year. Nowadays, the council has cut right back on bands in general and they are few and far between (at least that is in Derbyshire!!)

    Have other bands found this? How have they supplemented their income? How easy do you find it to find engagements nowadays? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve you might like to share?

    Also, for the sponsored bands, would your band be able to exist financially if you lost that sponsorship? How important is it to your bands existence?

    We generally get get engagements through people who have heard us play (the best type to get in my opinion!) and doing a mail drop on local businesses and organisations. Also people who have hired us before will come back the following year.

  2. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    We have built up partnerships with local schools, churches and community halls which have all brought in revenue/concerts. we also do quite a lot of charity work which has led to more concerts and donations. you could also try freemasons, rotary, round table and the lions
    cheers shaz x
  3. Di B

    Di B Member

    We do the charity work and local churches and I think our training band has done concerts at a local school too!

    My other thought is working mens clubs/royal british legion/etc

    As for free masons etc they are great jobs, but I think it is a case of knowing the right people!

    Do you have a funny handshake perchance? :lol:
  4. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    only up me trouser leg :eek:
  5. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Well we have one fund raising concert every year - just one, so we go all for that.. the past couple of years have averaged out at just over €1200 a concert - after adjusting for currency changes etc.. Our other concerts are usually freebies, or charity jobs etc

    This is enough to deal with our major bills (the insurance bill has jumped drastically in the last two years)

    For the most part, we're able to cover ourselves through member subs from there - along with the odd fund raiser. For the most part, we don't get paid for any jobs we do - any few euro for a job is a bonus.

    Thankfully, we've been lucky with the local arts council - who've been good to us with regard to some training aspects - but that's drying up now as well. Sponsorship isn't an issue with us.

    It's hard being a small town band! ;)

    Anyway, the best trick I have is inviting a local primary school choir to your concert for a five minute slot. All the mammies and daddys will come and pay to hear the little darlings sing, and if you schedule them in for the second half, then you can get them to buy raffle tickets. Also, it's odds on they'll go to the bar during interval, encouraging the hotel to let you have the hall again next year. Plus, they get to hear (and be impressed by) the band, so maybe they'll come again. AND, you get a breather while the choir are singing! :) Could this possibly be the best scheme in the world?! Ok, its unoriginal but hey...
  6. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    We have to do concerts to survive. Like most bands. contrary to popular beleif we are no longer sponsored by the Ever Ready company. i think we have to raise so much a month just to pay the mortgage on the band room.

    Think last year we did something like 35 concerts plus contests on top. its all go and without the dedicated guys and gals in the band we would be dead and buried.
  7. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Shropshire is no different either Di.
    I remember when I was a young lad (many, many years ago) my Mum and Dad used to take me to Shrewsbury Quarry on a Sunday afternoon to listen to the band. In those days it was Bands like Dyke, Morris Motors, Fodens, Fairey's etc.
    Throughout my banding life I have always performed in the Quarry Bandstand on Sunday afternoons and remember the days when audiences would be in the region of five hundred plus for both the afternoon and evening concerts.

    Sadly those days are gone and with all the cutbacks the Council no longer provide any entertainment whatsoever in Shrewsbury during the Summer months. The only time this beautiful Victorian Bandstand is now used is for two days during the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

    I also remember playing in Bandstands at Wolverhampton, Newcastle upon Tyne, Chester, Llandudno, Stourport on Severn and Telford.

    Does anyone know if the local councils still ask Bands to perform in these towns. It would be interesting to know.

  8. BoozyBTrom

    BoozyBTrom Member

    There are still a few council jobs within the north east. mainly though the summer months.

    Wonky Baton would be he man to ask. Being a proper north eastener.

    Not a Chocolate one like me
  9. Di B

    Di B Member

    Thanks for that Keppler...

    We do have a 'spot' for our training band, but the idea of a school choir is a great one!!!

    Think I might mention that to our band.....
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    My first outing with Coventry Festival Band (now Jaguar Cars Coventry) was at the bandstand in Wolverhampton, and I am pretty certain they still run concerts there, and I think Coventry and Stoke on Trent also still have bands fairly frequently. The London scene is pretty bleak when it comes to bandstand engagements nowadays. When I was in the forces, many moons ago, in addition to the bandstand in St James's Park there were weekly engagements through the summer at Embankment Gardens, with two performances each day. All you seem to get at the embankment these days is the occasional lunch-time programme given by american college bands, or small groups presenting jazz or theatre items. As for St James's Park, since the bandstand proper was taken down following the Regents' Park bombing, the whole set-up has seemed rather lack-lustre - the new setting is far from ideal, and there is very little publicity over which bands are performing when.

    What I am a little unsure over is how this state of afairs has come about, whether the bands have fallen prey to the sort of budgetary restrictions facing all local authorities, whether the costs involved now outweigh any financial benefits to the bands, or whether there has simply been a declining interest all round.

    What I would say is that it is very important that any band who is presenting a park concert must give proper thought to the content of their programme, and also to the way they present it. I have attended at St James's Park on a couple of occasions when the band, a prominent top section band at that, appeared simply to be playing to themselves. Whilst musically the standard was pretty good, there was virtually no communication and contact with the fairly large crowd that had gathered, and so an opportunity was lost. They were not playing under their usual conductor, which may have made a difference, but surely you then have to work that bit harder to produce the same result. On another occasion, I was astounded, having heard the first of two programmes, to find some items repeated in the second concert - not the best way to encourage an audience!
  11. I dont know alot of detail about it - but the hampshire county council, cancelled the Hampshire Youth bands tours.
    The county band was due to go to new zealand for their 50th aniversiary tour.
    and the training band were ment to be going to vienna.
    needless to say alot of broken spirited young people.
  12. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Well, a good experience we had was the WHOLE AUDIENCE was related to the band :p:p:p :lol:
  13. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Also try registering with you local library they will have a list of local societies/organisations. We had had enquiries for gigs/new members through this.

    Secondly make sure you keep your website up-to-date and that contacts check their emails. There is nothing more annoying that someone not replying to you enquiries.

    We wrote to all the local councils last year and this got us alot of bookings for this summer/autumn. Councils just don't realise half the bands still exist. It is all about pushing your name forward.

    Finially I have to agree with everyone else...local links with schools and the community is a very good idea! word of mouth is far the best advertising!!

    The last point! Most bands without sponsorship survive because they work very hard at doing so. Members contribute towards costs like coaches etc for contests and they do lots of fund-raising activities especially at Christmas. Things like caroling at Xmas can raise quite a bit of money if u have a team dedicated enough to do it!
  14. AJSOP

    AJSOP Member

    dont usually have problems finding engagements. we have problems having too many. although i like concerts so it does not worry me. most our summer weekends we have concerts and the odd ones during the week. Certainly keeps your lip in. :wink:
  15. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    In Washington we have the advantage of a large number of public memorials, many of which are suitable for informal concerts. The National Capital Band typically do a couple of them a year, and visiting bands will usually be scheduled for one also. We have to get a permit from the Park Service to hold one, which takes a couple of months to grind through the bureaucracy, but there is no cost to the band. Unfortunately, you can't solicit funds at one of these concerts, but you will usually get a couple of thousand people walking by in an hour, depending on the weather.

    There are no bandstands, just an area to for the band to stand, and (depending on which memorial you're at) steps to sit on for those who stop to listen.
  16. snapey

    snapey New Member

    We never get anything from the council, except the occasional request for a non paying job. In general we end up turning jobs away especially through the summer because we seem to get offered loads of park jobs and the like.
  17. Hornted

    Hornted Member


    We have no difficulty in getting work from the local councils in both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire -negotiating a good fee can be more of a problem. I have found the most profitable concerts are those that you organise yourselves, pick a good venue, get the junior band to play as well and invite a choir, you should be in for a profitable successfull evening.
  18. Despot

    Despot Member

    Yeah thanks Kepps, giving away all our tricks! :D

    Seriously it works. GUARANTEED to fill the hall. But of course we REALLY only have the little darlings along for for their musical contribution..ahem! :mrgreen:
  19. katej

    katej Member

    Wellington are going to be at the bandstand in Telford Town Park twice this year but don't know if we get paid or just rely on the generosity of the public!!
  20. What is a typical council job in the UK?

    ours are usualy stinkin' hot marches or low-profile functions, gatherings etc. which are more often than not absolutely horrible experiences... However our council gives the band a very healthy sponsorship fund every year so we're always obligated to provide the music when they ask.

Share This Page