Gig planning for dummies

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Part I
O me o my what a long time it has been since I’ve felt compelled to satisfy my borderline nonexistent audience. Apologies for those that missed me, an antagonistic sentiments that feel I wasn’t gone long enough. The primary reason for my absence has been my organisation of Dr Strangerawk. I recently turned the big 21 and this is to be my birthday party. In a bid to avoid embarrassing stories, photo montages and riotous drunk relatives I have taken my party into my own hands and decided to use it as a great excuse to organide my first ever gig. This entry is to chronicle exactly how it went down, things I learnt, and things I would do different next time. Part I is written on 11 November, two days before the actual event. Part II will come into formation after it all is finished and I can succinctly surmise the whole ordeal.

Because I am nothing if not brash, I jumped in headfirst from a logical angle. I knew I wanted a gig that could be a bit rowdy, it needed to be as cheap as possible an accessible to anyone and everyone. I started gathering quotes from venues. I found that even four months in advance many venues were prebooked with club nights. I settled on The Jubilee Hotel (upstairs) with the reasonable cost of $300 for both room and PA (and use of sound engineer). My target audience is familiar with the venue and most of (if not all) my favorite bands have played sets there. As for the bands…

I wanted it to be my perfect gig. A gig I would see and think “christ almighty thats going to be a fun night”. I contacted five bands, four of whom confirmed. I’m lucky enough to be dealing with friends in this instance, guys that are some of my best friends or at least friendly acquaintances which has made the process much easier. The unreliable band stereotype has not (yet) proved to be accurate. Featuring on the evening shall be Whiskey and SpeedThe Jon ExperimentThe Vampers, and D Rouser and the Dastardly Duo. Casual readers will know just how much I fucking love these bands.

I opted for a simple, easy to remember run order, as below.

7:30 – 8:00 doors + soundcheck
8:00 – 8:40 Whiskey And Speed
8:40 – 9:00 Setup and soundcheck
9:00 – 9:40 Jon Experiment
9:40 – 10:00 Setup and soundcheck
10:00 – 10:40 The Vampers
10:40 – 11:00 Setup and soundcheck
11:00 – 11:40 – D Rouser

Promotion was probably the easiest (but labor intensive) aspect of the process. I had a rather talented graphic designer willing to do a flyer for me as a favor, however this fell through as his schedule was too busy to commit, which is perfectly understandable for a chap of his skill and profession. I begrudgingly decided I would try my hand at designing my own flyer, keeping close to the overriding theme of Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove.

Lazily (and effectively if you ask me) I simply modified the original Dr Strangelove poster with all the information required. I began digital promotion well ahead of time, encouraging the bands to do the same. Facebook is my friend, to say the least. I can’t stress enough the usefulness of this tool for budding promoters/organisers such as myself. I had not intended on any physical promotion, but was able to secure 800 A5 flyers for a very reasonable price (a bottle of Makers Mark) from a generous friend in the industry. In the past few weeks I have painted the town red with these flyers, hitting every gig and store I frequent en masse.

All that remains so far are the small details, organising a door person (again a recruited, reliable friend), and a sound engineer. My only faux pas thus far is not organising a backline, and in all honestly I was unsure how to do so. I’m hoping this won’t be a problem, only time will tell.

That is all for now. I’ll see you on the other side, friends.

Part II
Welcome back! Well, what a weekend it was. I half expected to come back to you with tales of woe and disaster, about how everything collapsed at the last minute and how amazingly lame the whole evening was. It was not. It was fucking bitchin’. The folk at the Jubilee such as Gareth (manager) and Zack (our bartender) were just fantastically accommodating and patient with the antics that occured. Belle, the Jube’s sound engineer, was happy to help on the decks, but also happy to stand back and let my guys do their thing. The bands were on time, friendly and professional (or as professional as dirty punks can be). We sung, and danced and drank, until our hearts were content. Finally, and least importantly, I made my money back (with a little bit on the side), which really leads me to think I should be running more gigs as I essentially got a free night out with my best friends and favorite bands.

If nothing else, this should stand as a testament to the fact that the music industry in Brisbane is in the hands of the punters. Nobody has an excuse to say there is nothing to do on a weekend. If there isn’t anything to do, make yourself something to do. Call some bands, call some venues, these people are in the business for the same reason as you are and (most likely) will help wherever they can. This city lives off its DIY culture, and organiwing gigs is just one more facet to that. It could well be the start of something wonderful.

In conclusion, rape.

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