Tam Duong Jr.
It is 1 a.m. on a Saturday, the fans are gone, and I am cleaning up as quickly as possible so that I can distribute the earnings and get the bands back on the road. After a month and a half of hard work, the show was a success.
It may not be evident to everybody, but there is a lot of work involved in putting a successful music show together. Sure, anybody can reserve a date at the local bar and play with their band for a few hours, but that does not mean it will be successful, monetarily or attendance-wise.
Booking and promoting shows is tough especially since I am going to school full time, bartending, managing my reggae band, making time for my girlfriend, friends and family, and taking care of my two dogs.
It usually takes me about month to organize a show, but sometimes it can take a bit longer. The more time I have, the longer I have to find bands who can bring in a crowd; it also allows me to find better venues and promote the show properly, ideally maximizing attendance.
Overall, it is stressful to set up a show when you constantly get rejected by bands and venues for various reasons. It is usually a conflict of interest or a band member’s busy schedule.
On Aug. 9, I was contacted through a booking account I run on Instagram by a local artist in the reggae-ska community. He told me that he has some buddies that play in a reggae band from Los Angeles that are planning a trip to the Bay Area and needed to fill a date with a show.
I told him I could accommodate them right away. I figured that if my band wants to tour in the future and I book these guys, they will return the favor when we go to L.A.
I know I said that booking is tough, but this time around was pretty easy since two bands came to me. I decided to put my band, the Rudubangas, on the bill to complete it and move before finding a venue to play at. This was also easy because I went over to Fresh Pizza in San Lorenzo, where I am friends with the owners who have let me book a date with no problem.
The next thing for me to do was to create a flyer, which could be distributed through various online sites, blogs, and eventually in print. This takes time because I have to look for heavily trafficked areas where people will notice the flyer. Once the flyers are up, all I needed to worry about is reposting the show information online over and over every week to keep it relevant.