music clubs

Early kick-off, anyone?

A lovely venue

Can concert start times make a difference to attendance? I ask, as I've just played for the excellent society in Sutton in Ashfield. They tell me that not long ago they were down to audiences of about 40, with the future uncertain. Then they made two changes - one to the venue, moving from a church hall to a modern church, and the other to the start time, pulling it forward to 7:00pm.  Some had their doubts, but once tried this early start has proved popular. Yesterday they continued their recent trend of growing audiences, with 130 squeezed in. I'm sure audience growth leads to more audience growth - the atmosphere was terrific, and in order to get a seat at all the regulars started arriving not long after 6:00pm. The early finish meant that buses were still running, too. I've seen concerts beginning earlier from the typical 8:00pm start of my...

SUCCESS - can we bottle it?

The stage dressing

It seems that concert venues are enjoying very mixed fortunes at the moment. Some are poorly attended or closing whilst others are bursting at the seams, even with waiting lists. So what is the magic ingredient that makes all the difference – and can we bottle (or at least) copy it?

I was playing at the North Staffs Organ & Keyboard Club this week, and the first sign of how things are with them was the queue at the door, over an hour before the show was due to begin. Inside, a sizeable team were flat out preparing the booking office at one end and the stage at the other. And that stage featured additional hangings, banners, lighting to equal a small constellation, a dry ice machine and a big video screen giving out announcements before the show and projecting my hands and various videos during the show. They told...

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