I've been to a couple of really great but pretty sparsely attended gigs recently, Jim Moray a Radio 2 Award winning folk star promoted by Musicport, and The Forefathers, 5x9 and Chris the Poet at the Rifle Club promoted by Rangam. I can think of loads of people who would have enjoyed one or the other and probably both... but, where were they and why weren't they at the gigs? Was it simply that they didn't know?
How do people publicise gigs these days and is that publicity working? In this age of the internet the traditional poster is only really subliminal advertising, but is your poster easy to read? Do the important details (act, venue, date & time, price) leap out to be easily absorbed?
What about the internet? Do we need a 'popwatch' email list? Will people take notice if the information just pings into their inbox? Are we all using Myspace and Facebook to their full? It's not enough to just have a page, what about groups, events, targetted mailing (a close relative of spam!) of people in the locality, special offers for friends, cross posting on newsgroups, building your own mailing list, the list goes on and will keep on developing as social networking grips us all...
And then there's the press. Is the Whitby Gazette behind a vibrant and exciting Whitby scene? It has to be said that it can sometimes appear not... gigs confined to footnotes, articles run on odd days -either weeks in advance or the day before. Is this down to the paper or do the promoters need to be sharper? Are we courting the writers? Is the press release interesting? Is there a story? Will the artist agree to an interview? What about other press, the Link Magazine, Scarborough's High Tide, other local papers and the national guides like the Guardian which all have regional sections and are all free.
Or, deep breath... is it the audience? Are we simply unable or unwilling to go? What's stopping us? Is it because we assume gigs like the Rifle Club are full of drunken rioting teenagers or that gigs that Musicport put on are full of fusty dusty middle aged hippies? (neither is the case, under 18s are banned from the Rifle Club and Musicport attracts a very mixed age group). Are we all simply too old? Do jobs, children, mortgages and Coronation Street get in the way of beer and bands? What if there were a monthly gig with a creche? Or a rock'n'roll babysitting circle?
And what about the under 18s? I know I was definitely under age when I started going out to gigs (ah, the heady days of Sludge Ghaut and Futile Mass!), how can we encourage a scene where young, old and everyone in between can have a good night and good music without endangering themselves or others or the licensee's business?
So, ideas please?! If we crack this then just imagine the fun we can have!