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Juan Molina: Y2k8 festival booking possiblities?
in the recent discussion, you said (about Juan Molina):
"Trust me, you do not sell 500 tickets in San Francisco at $20 a head
unless things are really doing well for you, internationally in your
And go on to explain why it wouldn't be a possibility to get her to play at
Now, here's what I'm thinking about:
I know that your festivals have always been very communist/union-style as
far as independently of their fame and quality, people all get the same
amount of time for their performance slot and receive the same amount of
money. Now, traditionally, communism tends to make people with high
qualification/fame/market value escape from the system if they have the
possibility to do so and have a very negative effect on the quality of the
result - the fact that the quality of the performances at your festivals
have sometimes been outstanding is a miracle all of its own and can only be
explained by the "community spirit" cited so often.
But, as it is most probably next to impossible to have a performer without
any links to our community and with a considerable market value of his own
to attend the festival based on the usual financial/organisational scheme
(as I read from your explanation), what about the following approach:
Start the festival with a true "headlining gig" ("headliner" here being
someone with a position in the market, not someone coming from Europe).
Juan and another cat of that caliber (or perhaps two cats of smaller
caliber) play that event, and charge something like $30 at the door in the
aforementioned 500-seat venue. Use the market value of those performers to
attract sponsors for the entire festival. And, of course, invite those cats
to stay and enjoy the rest of the festival (lodging covered).
Give people who show a ticket for the headlining gig a big rebate for
admission for the remaining festival.
Make it clear to everyone applying that there are different concepts
regarding salary for the headlining gig and the main festival.
If it works out on a great way, you get more people to attend the main
festival (because they get a rebate, and because they get informed about
scene, whereas before they'd only been enjoying the work of Juan or Imogen
without any interest for or consciousness of looping).
If it doesn't - well, then you still have a main festival (that doesn't
extremely well financially) and a headlining gig which can even throw off a
little profit, and you might even get additional sponsors for the entire
Just my .02$ from someone who is (to use your metaphor) fairly green in
scene, but not in the realm of product management...